Biostage awarded up to $1.7M grant for preclinical study

BY Zachary Comeau

Biostage CEO Jim McGorry

Funding for Biostage’s bioengineered throat organ implants continues to pile up, as the Holliston company announced Thursday it has been awarded a grant worth up to $1.7 million.
The Fast Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the federal program Eunice Kennedy National Institute of Child & Human Development, will support the company’s development and preclinical testing of its Cellspan Esophageal Implant for treating pediatric atresia of the esophagus. 
The funds will be released in two parts: an initial award of $225,000 for the first phase of the research project and a second to support preclinical testing of pediatric implants planned for later this year. 
If the study is successful, the company hopes to soon submit its product to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for commercial approval. 
In a statement, Biostage CEO Jim McGorry said the grant program is extremely competitive, so he views winning it as a validation of the company’s approach to improving the surgical treatment of children suffering from esophageal atresia, a birth defect in which the esophagus does not property or fully develop.
The company has been working with Connecticut Children’s Hospital to develop a solution via the company’s Cellframe technology, which is designed to act as a scaffold combined with a patient’s own stem cells to create organ implants. 
“We believe that our technology provides a novel approach and that our collaboration will advance a product to the clinic,” he said.
Christine Finck, a member of the company’s Scientific Advisory Board and surgeon-in-chief at the hospital, will co-lead the grant study.
“There is a tremendous unmet medical need for kids suffering with pediatric esophageal atresia in Connecticut and across the world,” Finck said. “This technology shows promise of one day dramatically improving their care and condition.”