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Start-Up Previews (01/2011)

Executive Summary

A preview of the emerging health companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Benlysta May Lead Wave Of New Approvals For Lupus Drugs," features profiles of Azano Pharmaceuticals, Resolve Therapeutics and SuppreMol. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: biocrea, e(ye)BRAIN, MiCardia and Omthera Pharmaceuticals

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MiCardia Corp.

Patients requiring mitral valve repair of the heart to reduce recurrent leakage of blood or residual regurgitation after initial implant can now avoid going under the knife for a second time. MiCardia's Dynaplasty platform has been designed to change the shape of an implantable medical device in response to fluctuations in anatomical conditions. For mitral valve repair, MiCardia's shape-memory nitinol device is similar to a standard annuloplasty ring, but when activated, pulls the two leaflets together in such a fashion as to significantly minimize regurgitation.


Could the eyes hold the key to diagnosing neurologic conditions by associating eye movement behavior to specific areas of the brain? French start-up e(ye)BRAIN certainly thinks so, and as a result has developed a brain tracking medical device that its inventor claims is able to diagnose Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Resolve Therapeutics LLC

A growing number of competing companies are taking fresh approaches to treating lupus. Genentech and MedImmune, for instance, are each working on antibodies intended to directly bind the cytokine known as interferon-alpha, and inhibit its inflammatory effects. Start-up Resolve Therapeutics LLC is developing a compound intended to act in the same pathway as Genentech's and MedImmune's antibodies, but upstream of alpha-interferon. The idea is not to block production of interferon itself, but rather to block events that company founders believe trigger alpha-interferon production in lupus patients.

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