Gelmetix closes successful £5 million capital raise, progresses to first-in-human trial
Additional financing propels Gelmetix into clinical trial phase for treating chronic lower back pain, with first-in-human study due to take place in France and Australia
Medtech start-up Gelmetix, the developer of a first-in-class polymer treatment for chronic lower back pain, has closed a successful £5 million Series C equity financing round.
Following successful in-vivo and pre-clinical studies, the University of Manchester spin-out will now use the additional capital to fund its upcoming first-in-human (FIH) trial and preparing for the pivotal study. The Series C investment was led by Seneca Partners, while the £3 million Series B investment was led by Jonathan Milner.
The pilot study will progress the development of its minimally-invasive chronic back pain treatment, DXM, which restores the function to intervertebral discs to relieve pain. By rehydrating the core (nucleus pulposus) of damaged spinal discs, the novel DXM polymer gel therapy restores their load-bearing properties, delaying or preventing surgical intervention.
The French regulator, L’Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM), has granted approval to Gelmetix to commence its first-in-human trial which will be performed by renowned spine surgeons Prof Jean-Charles Le Huec in Bordeaux, Prof Richard Assaker in Lille and Prof Patrick Tropiano in Marseille. Patient recruitment has been initiated in France and the study will also include several sites in Australia.
The funding round follows the recent appointment of Andy Weymann MD MBA as CEO. An orthopaedic surgeon, Andy brings industry-leading medical, product development and market development expertise to Gelmetix. He has 25 years of experience in global and executive positions in medical device and regenerative medicine organisations, and most recently served as Chief Medical Officer for Smith+Nephew. He also led AO Education, including the worldwide leading spine group, AOSpine, where he worked with spine surgeons for seven years.
Andy Weymann commented: “The burden of low back pain is extremely profound, accounting for the highest number of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) compared to any other condition or disease globally. I am very proud to lead such a great team developing treatment options which aim to bring hope of a long-lasting treatment to a huge group of patients facing enormous unmet need.”
Michael Fiore, Chairman of Gelmetix, commented: “Chronic back pain is an extremely prevalent health concern, known for generating huge loss of quality of life and productivity for those affected. Yet no treatment options exist between opiate-based pain management and its associated dependency risks, and invasive orthopaedic surgery for progressed cases. DXM aims to address this gap and break the vicious cycle of pain and disc degeneration, with more than 15 million patients standing to benefit initially.
“Following this latest funding round and approval from l’ANSM, Gelmetix is in a great position to progress evidence for DXM and move closer to meeting the unmet needs of chronic orthopaedic pain.”
Founded in 2012 at University of Manchester, Gelmetix is a UK medtech company focused on treating chronic lower back pain caused by the degeneration of the intervertebral discs. Gelmetix’s polymer gel technology also has the potential to be adapted and extended for other uses. The company’s mission is to free the world from the burden of chronic back pain and to enable individuals to move and live life without pain. In December 2020, Gelmetix was named “one of the most promising biotech start-ups in Europe” by EIT Health Catapult.