Miromatrix has spent more than a decade researching how to make bioengineered organs for human transplants.
Now, the company with University of Minnesota roots is accelerating that work after spinning out a new company to focus on incremental products developed as part of its larger organ-engineering business.
Miromatrix last week said that it created Reprise Biomedical, a company that will focus on building sales for Miromesh and Miroderm, two products already cleared for U.S. sales by the Food and Drug Administration. A dedicated staff is needed for the products to become “cash flow positive,” Miromatrix CEO Jeff Ross said.
Miromesh is a tissue-support product similar to other mesh devices for hernia repair, except that it’s made from a pig liver that has had its pig cells removed, leaving behind a “decellularized” matrix that promotes healing in humans. Miroderm, made from decellularized porcine liver, promotes healing in wounds.
Removing the cells from an organ leaves an empty white “scaffold” structure made of materials like collagen. Clinical studies have shown that patients have not had rejection issues following implants of Miromesh or Miroderm because the host’s own cells populate the implanted matrix. Porcine liver is used because it has many channels into which new blood vessels can grow.
The two devices generated $1.75 million in sales last year for Miromatrix. Last week’s announcement that Reprise Biomedical would take over sales and manufacturing of these products estimated that they belong to a market worth more than $1 billion a year.
Carrie Powers, previously senior vice president of marketing at Vascular Solutions, said her role as CEO and president of Reprise Biomedical began in May, when a seed-funding round led to a Series A funding round that raised $12.5 million from private sources.
“There are some Miromatrix investors who understand the technology and were interested in this spinoff and understand the commercial products on the market from Miromatrix,” Powers said. “There was a general interest from a lot of the investors that … are currently investors also in Miromatrix.”
The board of directors at Reprise Biomedical includes: Ron Eibensteiner, president of Wyncrest Capital (and a Miromatrix board member); Erwin Kelen, founder of Kelen Ventures; and Howard Root, the former CEO of Vascular Solutions, which in 2017 was sold to Teleflex in a $1 billion deal. Root will serve as chairman at Reprise. Miromatrix CEO Ross is also on the board, and Miromatrix will continue to hold a minority ownership stake in Reprise.
Reprise Biomedical plans to expand its 12-person workforce and centralize manufacturing and other business operations into a new location in the west metro. Currently, its manufacturing takes place in Glencoe, Minn.
Focus on liver transplants
Meanwhile, Miromatrix will focus on creating bioengineered transplantable organs for humans from decellularized animal organs, now that it has both clinical evidence supporting the use of decellularized porcine liver matrix in humans.
The firm was spun out of the U around 2009 with public fanfare over its long-term goal of creating bioengineered human hearts from decellularized animal material. Creating such a heart is still a major goal, but Miromatrix has shifted to creating transplantable livers for humans first, working with the Mayo Clinic.
Ross said this week that Miromatrix could be on track to implant its first human with a full liver by the end of 2021. That would involve harvesting a liver from a pig, washing away the pig cells in a proprietary process called “perfusion decellularization,” and reseeding the resulting matrix with human cells that will grow into a new organ.
Miromatrix is also gearing up for a Series C funding round, which is expected to bring in between $30 million and $40 million.