Regenerative medicine spinout LifeSprout is advancing JHU research into a nanofibre-fortified gel that can be injected to repair soft tissue.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has given a detailed insight into its US-based regenerative medicine spinout LifeSprout, which is aiming to commercialise injections for soft tissue repair.

Founded in 2015, LifeSprout is working on a nanofibre-fortified hyaluronic acid gel that could aid the restoration of wounds in muscles and connective tissues resulting from injuries and surgical operations.

LifeSprout’s nanofibres, formed from a polymer already used in surgical sutures, coalesce upon injection at the wound as a scaffold-like structure through which access is granted to wound-healing cells such as macrophages.

The macrophages then signal for healing reinforcements such as blood vessel-forming cells, in theory enabling the patient to gradually rebuild chunks of tissue.

LifeSprout hopes its approach will improve on existing hyaluronic acid-based gels, which often only repair minor wounds, as well as fortified alternatives that are prone to scarring.

The concept has already been trialled on rabbit specimens and could with time be enhanced to mend soft tissues with specific functions such as heart muscle.

LifeSprout is the result of work led by Sashank Reddy, a reconstructive surgeon at JHU’s School of Medicine, with the help of a team including Hai-Quan Mao, a professor of materials science and engineering and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Institute of NanoBioTechnology.

The company received $500,000 in March 2018 from state-run economic development agency Maryland Technology Development Corporation’s seed fund, according to Technical.ly, likely as part of a $2.7m equity round disclosed in a regulatory filing the same month.

Medytox Investments, Kairos Ventures, Triskelion Capital and Tedco later supplied $6.5m in series A funding in June 2018.