University of Arkansas, Little Rock earned a $5.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to advance the NuCress scaffold™, a groundbreaking bone regeneration technology. The research team got vital support from U.S. Sen John Boozman in closing the deal.
Funding a Dynamic, Interdisciplinary Collaborative Over a Decade
The DOD financial infusion fosters the fusion of interdisciplinary team members from UA Little Rock including principal investigator lead Dr. Alex Biris; the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Dr. Mark Smeltzer and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Dr. David Anderson. Biris and Anderson have collaborated since 2006 to develop the underlying intellectual property that has become NuCress scaffold. They have set up an LLC in an effort to simultaneously commercialize the technology—licensed from the university. This latest funding shows how advancements in medical research often require a dynamic and calculated commitment from the private and public sectors.
The funds are awarded and administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The overall work is supporting the Department of Defense via the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program.
The Final Stages
The team has progressed the bone regenerative technology forward the final stages from the laboratory to the surgical theatre with potential uses in both military and civilian hospitals the parties reported in a recent press release.
What is the NuCress™Scaffold?
An implantable device that promotes controlled, robust bone regeneration in fractures, gaps where the bone is missing and major injury defects, including previously untreatable catastrophic injuries. The device degrades as the bone regenerates, potentially eliminating the need for multiple surgeries which are the source of major complications in present-day bone gap treatments. “Game-changing” reports Dr. Anderson as it “will revolutionize the treatment of bone diseases because it is capable of simultaneously promoting bone regeneration and delivering antibiotics, growth factors and cell-based therapies.
University of Arkansas Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences
The recent funds help the University of Arkansas Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences fulfill its mission to accelerate world-class innovations in nanotechnology benefiting society at large reports UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale.
DOD Funding Mission—Move Toward FDA-Cleared Clinical Trials & Market Authorization
DOD funds have to support ongoing research and have helped go to support the scaffold’s versatility and ability to regenerate large, missing segments of bone. The new, 4-year DOD award will directly support the pre-market work including manufacturing and U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance.
Successful execution will lead to FDA authorization to move toward clinical trials to validate its utility for clinicians and develop a new market application for treating the infection.
The Commercial Venture: NuShores Biosciences LLC
NuShores Biosciences LLC (NuShores), founded in 2014, was formed to commercialize patented bone and tissue regeneration technologies developed at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from over $9 million in grant research to date. The venture was set up by the principal investigators including Dr. Biris and Dr. Anderson.
NewShores is the exclusive license holder to patented and patent-pending bone tissue regeneration technologies developed at the University of Arkansas—Little Rock.
Dr. Alex Biris, University of Arkansas, Little Rock
Dr. David Anderson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Call to Action: This regenerative bone technology looks incredibly promising. TrialSite News will follow the effort into clinical trials. Sign up or the Daily Digest for updates.