Orthox closes $12.5m round for knee implant based on silk proteins


Oxford-based Orthox, a medtech company using silk proteins to make implants to replace damaged knee articular cartilage, has raised $4.3m (£3.2m) to close a $12.5m (£9.2m) Series A round.

The latest capital was provided by Parkwalk, a growth fund that invests in technologies that emerge out of UK universities and research institutions. Parkwalk joins existing shareholders in backing the startup, which includes Oxford Technology and Innovations EIS Fund, advised by Oxford Investment Consultants LLP, and Perivoli Innovations.

Life science fund managers, Additio Investment Group, also provided funds for the first time.

It brings the Oxford University spinout’s total funding to £21m. Orthox said it will use the fresh funds to support clinical trials for its FibroFix product, expected to start later this year in Bristol, UK and in Budapest, Hungary.

FibroFix is based on a tissue scaffold based on fibroin, the major component in silk.

The spinout is aiming to get its medical implant technology approved so that it can be used to improve the hundreds of thousands of knee replacements performed globally each year.

Orthox says the material is “unique” in emulating how real cartilage behaves in the body and can improve tissue regeneration.

“FibroFix is unique in emulating the functional properties of cartilage while also facilitating rapid tissue regeneration in patients suffering the debilitating effects of serious knee cartilage injuries,” said Nick Skaer, co-founder and CEO of Orthox. “With our approach there is significant bone sparing and strong tissue integration of the implant, which will result in much faster patient recovery from surgery.”

Orthox employs 18 people at its site in Oxfordshire. It is opening clinical trials later this year with an initial cohort of six patients before expanding it to 75 patients.

“Not only does FibroFix offer swift surgery and recovery, but it is minimally invasive, and nurtures the body’s innate capacity to heal itself,” said Additio Investment Group’s Raj Airey. “That’s a winning proposition to take into new clinical trials this year.”