Cocoon Biotech to Explore New Treatments for Joint Disease using Silk Biomaterial Platform Developed at Tufts University
BOSTON (November 4th, 2014) — Cocoon Biotech today announced that it has entered into exclusive option and sponsored research agreements with Tufts University to explore the commercialization of new treatments for joint disease and arthritis using silk protein polymers. The silk biomaterial platform was developed in the laboratory of David L. Kaplan, Ph.D, Stern Family professor and chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts School of Engineering, and spans many biomedical and industrial applications.
Cocoon Biotech is in the formative stages of developing products to treat osteoarthritis, a crippling disease affecting 27million Americans and over 150 million people worldwide. Existing approaches to treat arthritis, especially to the knee joint, include frequent steroid injections and eventual surgical knee replacement that directly cost the US healthcare system over $100 billion annually according to the Centers for Disease Control (Yelen, et al. 2007).
“Silk is a natural protein with outstanding lubrication features for the joint. Silk has been used in sutures and other implants for many decades demonstrating a favorable safety profile and has received prior FDA approval for certain medical devices. Silk can also be engineered to biodegrade at desired rates and release a variety of medications locally into the joint space to facilitate tissue healing,” said David Kaplan.
Joint lubrication is a newer therapeutic option for osteoarthritis, in which a biomaterial is injected into damaged joints to reduce the friction between cartilage surfaces and relieve symptoms such as pain and inflammation.
“Cocoon Biotech joins a growing number of promising silk technology based ventures spun out of Tufts,” said Erik Halvorsen, senior director, Tufts Tech Transfer & Industry Collaboration (TTIC). “We are thrilled to work with Cocoon to enable the development of such innovative treatment solutions utilizing the silk biomaterial platform for the benefit of the public.”
Dr. Ailis Tweed-Kent, founder and CEO of Cocoon Biotech added, “Our collaboration with Tufts will help bring needed relief to those suffering the effects of osteoarthritis. As a physician, I am both heartened and resolved that Cocoon is now poised to provide a cost-effective solution to this huge problem facing patients.”
About Cocoon Biotech: Cocoon Biotech, Inc., Boston, MA was founded in 2013 to bring treatments for arthritis and other debilitating diseases to market. The company has completed seed financing and is testing prototype products in the laboratory.
More at: CocoonBiotech.com
About Tufts Tech Transfer & Industry Collaboration (TTIC): The core mission of TTIC is to identify, evaluate, patent, and commercialize innovative Tufts inventions and technologies and to support research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and translation of Tufts technologies. More at: TechTransfer.Tufts.edu