LifeMatrix's patented biomimetic implants are made from biodegradable polymer scaffolds shaped for various indications―such as heart valves or blood vessels―and human cells from Master Cell Banks. The latter are subsequently cultured in bioreactor systems to create a human-cell-derived extracellular matrix. After the cells are removed, they leave behind the LifeMatrix, a scalable, cost-effective, non-immunogenic off-the-shelf product that can be applied to every patient.
Upon implantation, the implant is repopulated by the recipient’s cells and transforms into living tissue. The LifeMatrix biomimetic device helps to avoid repeated major surgeries and their associated risks throughout the patient’s life. The relevant market for heart valves, vascular grafts, and congenital applications is expected to grow to a total market size of USD 16 billion by 2025.
Targeting a highly unmet need
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, causing 17.9 million deaths per year. Globally, more than 2.1 million patients receive cardiovascular implants every year to prevent death. Diseased cardiovascular tissues are currently replaced with synthetic or animal-derived materials. While the implantation procedures evolved, the artificial materials used have not improved over the last decades and lack the fundamental properties of the patients’ living tissues. Specifically, they do not grow or regenerate, cause infections and thrombosis, require lifelong medication, and be replaced several times because of their limited durability. Children born with a heart defect and require heart valve replacement today either receive mechanical or animal-derived valves. A major drawback of these prostheses is that they do not grow with the child and therefore need to be surgically replaced repeatedly, which causes suffering and substantially increases complications and death.
An experienced team and capital to accelerate the development
LifeMatrix was co-founded by a multidisciplinary expert team around Professor Maximilian Emmert (founding-CEO), René Stenger (CTO), and Robin Müller (COO). Professor Emmert is an award-winning cardiac surgeon and translational scientist with extensive clinical and academic experience. With the crucial support of key opinion leaders in the industry and support from Wyss Zurich, LifeMatrix is starting a first-in-child clinical trial and closing the Series A financing round.
The startup will use the CHF 150,000 Venture Kick support to expand the clinical launch strategy and support regulatory submissions. “Venture Kick helped us to make our first steps in transitioning from the academic environment into a corporate set-up with financial support and access to the Swiss startup ecosystem,” said Robin Müller, LifeMatrix COO.