October 3, 2011
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Humacyte’s groundbreaking new technology to create “off the shelf” human veins for use in life-saving vascular surgeries has been recognized by Popular Mechanics magazine as one of the “Breakthrough” innovations of 2011 that is “changing our world for the better.” Humacyte founder, Laura Niklason and co-founders Shannon Dahl and Juliana Blum will accept the award during a ceremony at the Hearst Tower in New York City on Monday, October 10.
The award recognizes Humacyte’s innovation in developing the first bioengineered veins made from human cells that retain their strength and efficacy during long-term storage, making the veins implantable into anyone and immediately available at the time of patient need. These bioengineered blood vessels also showed improved resistance to obstruction and clotting. Additionally, the new method allows large numbers of grafts to be cultured from one cell bank, which has the potential to significantly reduce manufacturing costs.
“It is always gratifying to be recognized for our work,” said Niklason. “And, this technology is especially exciting because of the great potential that it holds to improve the lives of patients with heart disease and diabetes.”
Dr. Niklason will also participate in a panel discussion titled “From Invention to Reality” at the Breakthrough Conference sponsored by the magazine. During the panel, scientists will discuss their work with other scientists, engineers and technologists as well as Popular Mechanics editors and representatives from the media at large.
She has advanced manufacturing practices for production of tissue engineered products and defined relevant vitro tests for quality release of tissue engineered products. Dahl received her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she performed research in conjunction with Harvard Medical School. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University.
Juliana Blum, Ph.D. is a Co-Founder of Humacyte, Inc. where she currently serves as Senior Director of Business Operations. Blum oversees day to day operational activities and leads key external collaborations. She is responsible for developing, executing, and managing the company’s tissue supply chain. In this role, Blum combines her molecular biology expertise with tissue engineering to aid in improving the technologies surrounding Humacyte’s vascular graft and therapeutic filler products. Blum received her doctorate in Molecular Biology from Loyola University in Chicago, with a focus in gene therapy and cardiovascular disease, and her B.S. degree from Carthage College in Wisconsin.
About Bioengineered Veins
Humacyte’s bioengineered veins are manufactured in a novel bioreactor system, decellularized, and may be stored for up to 12 months under refrigerated conditions. Decellularization renders bioengineer veins non-immunogenic, making them implantable into anyone. Simple storage conditions will also allow these veins to be stored on-site in hospitals, making them readily available to surgeons and patients; eliminating the wait for vein production or shipping. Bioengineered veins (3-6mm in diameter) have demonstrated excellent resistance to occlusion in large animal models for up to one year. It is estimated that more than 500,000 patients could potentially benefit from this new technology each year.
Humacyte, a privately held company, is primarily focused on developing products for vascular disease and for therapeutic filling and soft tissue repair. The company uses its innovative and proprietary platform technology to engineer human, extracellular matrix-based tissues that can be shaped into tubes, sheets, or particulate conformations, with properties similar to native tissues. These can then be used in many specific applications, with the potential to significantly improve treatment outcomes for a variety of patients, including those with vascular disease and those requiring hemodialysis. The company’s proprietary technologies are designed to result in off-the-shelf products that can be utilized in any patient. The company Web site is www.humacyte.com.
Information in this news release contains “forward-looking statements” about Humacyte. These statements, including statements regarding management’s projections relating to future results and operations, are based on, among other things, management’s views, assumptions and estimates, developed in good faith, all of which are subject to known and unknown factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.