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ACS Biotech Develops a Gel Capable of Regenerating Cartilage

ACS Biotech has developed a unique gel in the world capable of repairing cartilage damage occurring following traumatic shock or a degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis. The company is preparing to raise funds in order to launch the first clinical tests on humans. ACS Biotech wins the Health prize from Tech for Future 2024, the largest startup competition in France, organized by La Tribune.



ACS Biotech

The Lyon startup ACS Biotech has developed a gel capable of regenerating cartilage in a single injection, carried out during minimally invasive surgery. A major medical breakthrough: more than 10 million patients are affected by this disabling and degenerative joint disease in France, and 500 million worldwide.

This medication could prevent the disease and provide a lasting solution by repairing the cartilage. In any case, this is the ambition of Pascale Hazot, doctor in chemistry and founder of the biotech company. As part of a post-doctoral fellowship with the CNRS, this scientist worked, in 2002, on cartilage repair. It was therefore quite natural that, 10 years later, she decided to deepen her work. Certain that the project was promising, this daughter and wife of entrepreneurs created ACS Biotech with the idea of ​​offering an innovative treatment to patients.

“Any lesion of the cartilage is irreversible because it is a non-innervated, non-vascularized tissue… This inevitably leads to degeneration and therefore to osteoarthritis. Today, medicine limits pain and relieves the patient through injections of hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids, but the effects only last 6 to 12 months. With our technology, we aim for definitive and complete cartilage repair,” explained Pascale Hazot.

The ACS Biotech gel may be optimal for early osteoarthritis or following a traumatic shock (fall, car accident, etc.), because it is necessary that there is still cartilage. The idea is, in fact, to intervene early in order to avoid advanced wear of the cartilage which would only result in an orthopedic prosthesis.

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ACS Biotech injectable solution is unique in the world

The injectable solution, patented by the startup, is made from a 3D matrix of chitosan hydrogel, a natural biomaterial. Biocompatible, it also has very good cell repair properties. “ We are the only ones in the world to use chitosan to encapsulate cartilage cells and offer perfect control of the gel before implantation. In the end, we regenerate cartilage similar to the initial one, which allows the patient to resume their sporting and daily activities” explained the scientist, surrounded by a multidisciplinary team and scientific experts.

A necessary step before any marketing, ACS Biotech has carried out in vitro and in vivo validation on small and large animals. It is finally preparing to launch clinical tests on humans, as soon as its fundraising is finalized (amount not disclosed).

“After being incubated at the Lyonbiopôle Innovation center, we set up our own bioproduction platform with laboratories in Lyon, allowing us to manufacture the first clinical batches. We will start with the knee joint, as it accounts for 50% of cartilage injuries. After validation of the results, we will be able to launch the tests on the hip, foot or shoulder,” specified Pascale Hazot, who indicates that this gel will be administered in the operating room, in the clinic or in the hospital, by orthopedic clinicians.

Financially aided by Bpifrance, the State and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, the biotech was the winner of several European calls for projects including the Eureka Eurostars innovation program. It has also been supported, since its creation, by the Banque Populaire and the CIC.

Osteoarticular biobank

In this long-term entrepreneurial adventure, Pascale Hazot, 50 years old, was able to put to good use her knowledge acquired during her International MBA at EM Lyon, and use her 15 years of experience in project management in biotech and medtech.

At the moment, the business manager has developed other activities in parallel with the freeze in order to perpetuate the structure. ACS Biotech has just launched its osteoarticular biobank, where cells and tissues are offered to public and private laboratories to contribute to the launch of their research programs. It also offers its 3D chitosan hydrogel technological platform with clear potential for applications in regenerative medicine or tissue engineering.


(Featured image by shauking via Pixabay)

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First published in LA TRIBUNE. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the articles from the originals. In case of discrepancy, the originals will prevail.

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Eva Wesley is an experienced journalist, market trader, and financial executive. Driven by excellence and a passion to connect with people, she takes pride in writing think pieces that help people decide what to do with their investments. A blockchain enthusiast, she also engages in cryptocurrency trading. Her latest travels have also opened her eyes to other exciting markets, such as aerospace, cannabis, healthcare, and telcos.