Stem cells have been a key source of innovation in regenerative medicine, because they possess the ability to self-renew. Adult stem cells are found within the human body, in bone marrow, tooth enamel, and other locations. When someone is injured, the inflammation from the injury acts as a signal for the stem cells to become activated. The stem cells heal the body by traveling to the affected location and changing into the cells that have been damaged.
This process doesn’t always work fast enough to heal all injuries, so stem cells can be manually harvested from areas where they are abundant, and transferred to areas in the body where they are needed. JointechLabs have created a device which makes this process more accessible and affordable for doctors and patients everywhere. We asked Nishit Pancholi, the President and Chief Medical Officer at JointechLabs, more about the company:
How did you become interested in biotech?
NP: We were always interested in the potential of harnessing the natural healing powers of the human body, and use that to enhance healing, and regeneration. It is painful to see near and dear ones continue to suffer from orthopedic problems or non-healing wounds after receiving conventional treatments. Improving science so that one’s own stem cells can be more accessible to help these patients heal became the founding mission of JointechLabs.
When did you decide to start a company, and where did your team get together?
NP: In 2010, Dr. Nathan Katz, who has extensive experience in stem cell biology, started JointechLabs with Felix Pustilnik, who has experience in business and sales. I have a background in medicine with a focus on clinical applications of stem cells, and I joined the executive team as a co-founder later.
How does your technology work?
NP: JointechLabs has created a device to provide stem cell therapies on demand, in a doctor’s office, for 1/10 of the price of conventional alternatives. Although stem cell therapies have been shown to have tremendous potential and efficacy in treating a variety of illnesses, they are currently underused, as the facilities and doctors that are capable of delivering them are few and far between. Stem cells are not easily transported, and so patients often must travel great distances in order to be treated; so inevitably the treatment is also incredibly expensive.
Our technology enables doctors to practice stem cell therapies and allows for development of stem cell therapies for medical indications with unmet medical need. Our device provides access to a high quality cell fraction at the point-of-care, therefore, a doctor can offer cell treatments in the regenerative medicine segment. Going further, our cell therapies will provide treatments for medical indications with unmet medical needs: orthopedic indications, wound healing, vascular indications.
What lessons did you learn transitioning from science to entrepreneurship at IndieBio?
NP: Stay focused on what’s important for the company development and progress. Identify and clarify your product, development roadmap, regulatory aspects, market strategy and risks mitigation of all listed. Develop an understanding of the costs associated with each step. Prepare for prospective company growth: HR, legal, etc.
How do you think your success as a company would change the healthcare industry?
NP: Patients will receive access to effective treatments for indications with unmet medical needs. Since the condition will be treated in the early stage of development, the cost of indication life-cycle will be reduced dramatically, providing direct benefits to the insurance companies and, therefore, to the patients.
What milestones are you aiming to hit in the near future?
NP: FDA 510K approval for our medical device and brining the device to doctor’s offices. RMAT (Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapies) FDA designation for our stem cell therapies.