Startup Gains Funding for Industrial Production of Medical-Grade Elastin

Seven-figure investment will help launch what matrihealth officials call the first known facility to produce medical-quality elastin at industrial scale.

June 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Matrihealth co-founders
Matrihealth co-founders (left to right): Dr. Marco Götze, Tobias Hedtke, Dirk Schuster, Dr. Christian Schmelzer.Image courtesy of Matrihealth GmbH

A German startup is one step closer to becoming the first company to produce medical-grade elastin on an industrial scale. Matrihealth GmbH reports having successfully completed a seven-figure seed financing round that will go toward the construction of a plant focused on isolating elastin for use in medical device design.

Matrihealth was spun off the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS) in 2022 to provide elastin insulation and processing for the medical, cosmetic, and food industries. IMWS and Fraunhofer Venture, the central spin-off and investment management department of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, resourced the funding. The new facility is expected to be operating and producing for all targeted market segments by the end of 2025. Site locations are currently being considered in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

New type of biomaterial.

A natural protein, elastin is essential for the elasticity and tensile strength of organs and tissues, as well as for wound healing, according to officials at Fraunhofer IMWS. As the basis for the cultivation of human cell tissue in transplant medicine, elastin possesses unique mechanical and biochemical properties. However, it cannot be processed in its raw form and is not reproduced by the human body.

Matrihealth reportedly has developed a method to isolate elastin and make it available as a highly pure, water-soluble derivative that can be utilized in a variety of industrial applications. In essence, it represents a new type of biomaterial with highly configurable properties.

“Thanks to the support of the new investors, matrihealth can now successfully continue the technology transfer and open up new applications and innovation potential for industry partners,” said Christian Schmelzer, co-founder and deputy director of Fraunhofer IMWS. “This investment is also an honor for the research and technological expertise at our institute.”

In addition to water-soluble elastin, successful products to date that incorporate elastin include powders and flakes, as well as nanofiber nonwovens and protein sponges for medical applications.

Precursor material at reduced cost.

Upscaling production reportedly will allow matrihealth to offer elastin to the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries as a market-specific precursor for a range of applications at significantly lower cost.

“With the support of Fraunhofer IMWS and Fraunhofer Venture, we have gained two exciting new investors with an in-depth understanding of the industry and market,” said Managing Director Tobias Hedtke. “The seed financing will enable us to realize our entrepreneurial mission over the next two years and expand the application possibilities of elastin to completely new markets and products by scaling up our production."

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