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No more joint pain – Finnish medical device innovation heals unhealable cartilage tissue

Askel Healthcare team, from left to right: Dr. Virpi Muhonen (CEO), Kaisa Laine (Quality manager), Dr. Anne-Marie Haaparanta (CTO), Constance Trouvé (Sales and marketing manager), and Laura Johansson (Production manager).

Helsinki 22 August 2017 – Finnish medtech company Askel Healthcare Ltd is moving forward in bringing their COPLA Scaffold™ – an implant for cartilage repair – to market. The company has today announced a share issue on the Invesdor investment platform.

Cartilage-related problems are the most frequently encountered problems orthopedic surgeons face in their practice. In spite of the prevalence of the problem, there are no treatments available for restoring and maintaining the original functionality of the tissue. Whatever the cause, the result of cartilage destruction is consistently the same, i.e. pain and lameness, adversely affecting the lifestyle and activity levels of the afflicted. Orthopaedic surgeons lack a method to repair cartilage damage early, i.e. when the lesion is still small. Therefore, the condition gets worse and often the end result is osteoarthritis - and the only treatment a joint prosthesis.

The COPLA Scaffold™ has been developed to treat this challenging medical problem, i.e. to heal the unhealable cartilage.

“We do not aim just to treat the symptoms created by these cartilage defects; we go a step further and provide truly regenerative solutions for the long-term benefit of the patients,” says Virpi Muhonen, the Chief Executive Officer of Askel Healthcare.

Behind the COPLA Scaffold™ are years of academic research. The COPLA Scaffold™ has been developed to work in the specific physiological conditions of weight-bearing joints: the COPLA Scaffold™ adapts to the cyclic and static loading of the joint and creates a correct microenvironment for cartilage regeneration. One of the benefits of the COPLA Scaffold™ is that the patient can start using the joint immediately after the surgery. The scaffold slowly degrades over time while new cartilage is regenerated.

The COPLA Scaffold™ can be used in different cartilage locations and in different species, including humans. In the beginning the COPLA Scaffold™ is only available for veterinary patients, especially dogs and horses, but the company aims to provide the treatment to humans in the near future.

Askel Healthcare was founded in March 2017 by the group of scientists behind the invention. The Askel Healthcare team has a strong scientific background in orthopaedics, cell biology, materials science, and veterinary medicine, all skills necessary in this multidisciplinary field. The co-founders CEO Virpi Muhonen and CTO Anne-Marie Haaparanta both have a PhD and together over twenty years of academic research experience. They have dedicated the last few years to gathering the needed specialists to bring this innovation to the hands of orthopedic surgeons so they can provide the best possible care for their patients.

“Askel Healthcare’s team embodies the strengths vital to entrepreneurs: determination and perseverance,” says Invesdor CEO Lasse Mäkelä. “After years of research, the research team has moved their sights to commercializing their innovation. We are proud to be part of this equity offering that will help Askel Healthcare grow into a real success story.”

Askel Healthcare Ltd is looking to raise €450,000–€650,000 in exchange for 17.65%–23.64% equity. The proceeds of the share issue will be used to carry out an international clinical medical device trial, to build an initial manufacturing unit, and to commence sales in Q4/17. Investment material can be found and share subscriptions made on the Invesdor investment platform at https://www.invesdor.com/en/pitches/845.

 

Contact: www.askelhealthcare.com or

Virpi Muhonen, CEO, +358 40 489 3840, v.muhonen@askelhealthcare.com

Mikko Savolainen, communications manager, Invesdor Ltd, +358 40 747 5205, mikko.savolainen@invesdor.com

 

References

Muhonen V et al. J Orthop Res. 2016 May;34(5):745-53. doi: 10.1002/jor.23099. PubMed PMID: 26573959.

Anne-Marie Haaparanta, Doctoral thesis 2015: https://tutcris.tut.fi/portal/en/publications/highly-porous-freezedried-composite-scaffolds-for-cartilage-and-osteochondral-tissue-engineering(1cbc730a-ce0f-4470-9daf-d303a6815d13).html

 

Askel Healthcare Oy (Ltd) in brief:

Askel Healthcare Oy (Ltd) is a medical device company focusing on orthopedics. The company is based in Helsinki, Finland. Company’s first product, COPLA Scaffold™, has been developed for cartilage repair and prevention of osteoarthritis. COPLA Scaffold™ will be available for veterinary patients in autumn 2017.

COPLA Scaffold™ creates optimal environment for articular cartilage reconstruction. Its functionality is based on advanced weight-adaptive structure with a unique material combination. These together enable the healing of the cartilage tissue. COPLA Scaffold™ will be available for human use in the future.

Invesdor in brief:

A financial technology (fintech) company founded in Finland in 2012, Invesdor operates an online investment platform that connects ambitious European growth companies with investors worldwide. So far Invesdor has helped raise more than 35 million euros and hosted more than 90 successful equity crowdfunding campaigns. Invesdor's clients include private and publicly traded companies from Finland, the UK, Norway and Denmark as well as investors from more than 70 countries. Invesdor has offices in London and Helsinki. Invesdor is the Nordic market leader in equity crowdfunding platforms measured in invested capital in 2016.

Invesdor for media

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Mikko Savolainen

Written by Mikko Savolainen

Mikko is the marketing and comms manager at Invesdor. Having been with Invesdor since 2013, Mikko has a knack for incisive analysis and wordsmithery.