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Drexel Materials Start-ups: Putting Innovation on the Road to the Marketplace

November 13, 2015

Drexel’s  Department of Materials Science and Engineering has a strong track record of research innovation and start-up generation. Recently, two of our faculty members, Michele Marcolongo and Wei-Heng Shih, received Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership Program grants to support their start-ups developing innovations in healthcare. Here, the two explain the origins of their companies and the advancements they bring to their fields.

MimeCore logo






MiMecore Therapeutics LLC
(Department Head and Professor Michele Marcolongo)

Michele MarcolongoWhen was your company founded?  

Drexel IP was transferred in December 2014.

How did the idea to form your company come about?  


In trying to solve the problem of vertebral disc degeneration, we started with synthetic polymers, called hydrogels, to replace diseased tissue.  We then realized that one major molecule was depleted in the degenerated discs and so we set out to just replace that molecule to molecularly engineer the disc tissue.  Because the molecule, aggrecan, was expensive to isolate, we created a synthetic version that held the same architecture, size and water uptake as the natural molecule, but for only pennies.  We have used this technology to molecularly engineer the extracellular matrix, or tissue, of the intervertebral disc, cartilage and the urethra.  

Who are the partners in your company?  


Vince Novak is the CEO. There are numerous technical, medical and industry collaborators who work with the technology.

MimiCore aggrecan images
Biomimetic aggrecan (right) mimics 3D structure of natural aggrecan and infiltrates collagen-rich cartilage to molecularly engineer the tissue (left).
What is your company’s mission?

To restore diseased or degenerated tissue with a minimally invasive injection of biomimetic proteoglycans.

How do you see your company impacting the field within the next decade?

We will change the way tissue is regenerated by repairing the tissue one molecule at a time.

What is the one thing you want people to think of when they hear your company name?

Regeneration

Lenima logo




Lenima Field Diagnostics LLC
(Professor Wei-Heng Shih and Professor Wan Y. Shih)


Wei HengshihWhen was your company founded?     
2013

How did the idea to form your company come about?

We had been thinking about forming a company to develop our technologies because several of our earlier inventions were licensed but not developed into the products that we had envisioned. We were also encouraged by Drexel University’s Office of Research to form a company to develop our technologies the way we envisioned.

Who are the partners in your company?

Professors Wan Y. Shih, Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems and Wei-Heng Shih, Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

What is your company’s mission?

The mission of the company is to develop ultra-sensitive, rapid, point-of-care, and affordable molecular diagnostics.
    
quantum dots tumor detectionHow do you see your company impacting the field within the next decade?

It will allow affordable multiplexed molecular diagnostic tests at point-of care and in the field.

What is the one thing you want people to think of when they hear your company name?

Affordable point-of-care and field diagnostics.