Imbed Biosciences, a young Fitchburg company that has developed an ultrathin film to heal wounds, is poised to launch its product this spring with the help of the latest injection of funds from investors.
A "national wound care company" will partner with Imbed and will market Microlyte Ag, said Ankit Agarwal, Imbed CEO and co-founder. The partner company's name is not being released yet.
Microlyte Ag is a patented, ultrathin film coated with tiny silver particles that stick to the surface of the wound and kill bacteria. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared it in August 2016 as a medical device, for prescription and over-the-counter use.
Mission Health's hospital in Asheville, North Carolina is applying Microlyte Ag to 100 patients in a clinical study; results will be presented this spring. In a separate pilot project, doctors in about 25 hospitals across the U.S. are treating patients with the microfilm, Agarwal said.
It is aimed at treating surgical wounds, chronic skin ulcers, pressure sores and first- and second-degree burns.
Agarwal said he is encouraged by some of the comments he's hearing from the test sites. "Patients have called saying the product has healed wounds that had not healed for a year," he said. "It feels very good just to know that."
Agarwal was part of a team that invented the technology while he was a post-doctoral research scientist at the UW-Madison in 2008. The team also included Jonathan McAnulty, chairman of the Department of Surgical Sciences at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, and former UW surgeon Dr. Michael Schurr, now a surgeon at Mission Hospitals.
Imbed was formed in 2010 and has eight employees.
The company recently finalized $1.6 million in funding -- some of it new money and some from converting debt to equity -- all from past investors led by WISC Partners, which has offices in Madison and Silicon Valley.
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Imbed plans to raise up to $5 million more, later this year, Agarwal said, to help launch of Microlyte Ag and conduct more studies.
For now, the microfilm is being produced at Imbed's offices, 5520 Nobel Drive, but as sales ramp up, the company will depend on contract manufacturers, Agarwal said. "As we create more demand, we will invest in scale-up of manufacturing," he said.
Meanwhile, Imbed has more products on the way. One is a biofilm with gallium, another type of metal, to treat infected wounds, and another is a film that contains an anesthetic.
"We will maintain a small manufacturing site for all of the pipeline products but our intent is to outsource large-scale manufacturing," Agarwal said.
Microlyte Ag has received approval for Medicare Part B reimbursement. Imbed also has applied for approval to sell the product in Canada and Europe.
Agarwal has been at the huge J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week, meeting with potential investors.
He said preparing for the product's launch is huge. "It was a very simple technology that (we) invented at the university and now the product is being used on wound patients. It's very rewarding to me," Agarwal said.