Biopôle based Vanarix, a Swiss startup specialized in regenerative medicine, just announced that a first successfully transplanted patient with its autologous Cartibeads (made with the patient’s own cells) is doing well. The operation that took place in Geneva is part of an ongoing clinical study conducted jointly at the HUG and the Clinique de la Colline (Hirslanden) in Geneva.
Vanarix, a Swiss startup specialized in regenerative medicine, just announced that its first patient transplanted with autologous Cartibeads is doing well. MRI analysis showed a cartilage regeneration (focal cartilage damage due to an accident) at only 6 weeks post transplantation. A team of surgeons made of Dr Philippe Tscholl, Pr Menetrey Jacques and Dr Halah Stern achieved the first transplantation at the HUG (University Hospital of Geneva). The startup led by Dr. Vannary Tieng looks forward to treating its next patients in the ongoing clinical study conducted jointly at the HUG and the Clinique la Colline (Hirslanden) in Geneva.
Vanarix started in June 2022 a first-in-man study with the first generation of its product, autologous Cartibeads. Repairing damaged articular cartilage is still an unmet medical need. Once damaged, cartilage has a limited capacity for self-repair and if left untreated can lead to osteoarthritis (OA) which is a chronic disabling disease with large impact on quality of life and society costs. Current treatments do not regenerate the hyaline-type articular cartilage. Vanarix has developed a new generation of cell therapy to produce high quality hyaline cartilage microtissues named Cartibeads, resembling native tissue.
Cartibeads can be transplanted during non-invasive arthroscopic surgery. They are able to self-integrate into articular cartilage lesions and thus regenerate the tissue within a month. Thanks to the high hyaline quality achieved by a patented 3-step method, the startup believes that allogeneic Cartibeads can be the holy grail so long awaited by orthopedic surgeons and may be a game changer in the field of cartilage regeneration. While chondrocyte-based cell therapies have been used for more than 20 years, no one has discovered the dedifferentiation and redifferentiation pathway of adult chondrocytes, which allows them to behave like “stem cells” and to be used at very high passages.
Working on the second generation of Cartibeads
The company co-founded in 2018 by Dr Vannary Tieng (CEO) and Alessandra de Picciotto (President) plans to be present on the market within 5 years with the second generation of Cartibeads named “allogeneic Cartibeads” (advantage of a single surgery) and to develop in the future its own facilities for the large-scale and low-cost production of Cartibeads through automation/robotization. Two people work today at Vannarix, a third is set to join next year. The startup outsources all the GMP manufacturing of Cartibeads to a Lugano cell factory.