UCI said it received a $6 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to perform preclinical trial studies on jaw joint implant Hyaleon.
Hyaleon, the main product of UCI-based startup Cartilage Inc., aims to treat adults living with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. According to officials, about one in four adults suffer from a TMJ pathology, and up to 70% of cases involve displacement of the TMJ disk.
“Total joint replacement is performed for end-stage cases, but this is considered to be a drastic step,” Kyriacos Athanasiou, a biomedical engineering researcher at UCI who led the development of Hyaleon, said in a statement. “What has been needed is an approach that allows for the regeneration of the tissues of the TMJ disc complex without having to resort to total joint replacement, and that’s the gap that our Hyaleon engineered neocartilage implant fills.”
The grant enables the Hyaleon team to test the product’s storing and distribution capabilities, complete its animal studies and design its manufacturing process, which requires cell banks from human donors.
Hyaleon has so far demonstrated higher durability and resilience than controls in large-animal studies, according to officials.