Three Local Biotechs Focused on Improving Military Performance and Medical Care
Biotech companies focused on developing biodefense products and measures are well known throughout the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR). Companies like BioFactura, which is developing a smallpox therapeutic, and Emergent BioSolutions, which is advancing an anthrax vaccine, are two regional organizations BioBuzz has covered extensively.
Biotechs focused on military field and medical applications tend to fly under the proverbial radar with the remarkable activity around and focus on COVID-19 vaccine development and production.
Over the last 20 years, the military has made remarkable strides in leveraging robotics, tech devices, and new, innovative medical technologies in the field to save the lives of soldiers that might not have made it off of the battlefield two decades ago.
Several BHCR biotech companies are on a mission to keep improving military field medicine and performance in novel ways. ARMR Systems of Baltimore, Maryland, Theradaptive of Frederick, Maryland, and Juxtopia of Arlington, Virginia, are three exciting companies at various stages that are poised to change the future of military medical training, treatment, and performance.
ARMR Systems, Baltimore, Maryland
ARMR Systems is a Maryland BioPark-affiliated startup developing a wearable hemorrhage control system designed to increase the survivability of traumatic battlefield injury in a situation where advanced medical support is not immediately available.
According to the ARMR website, “Our first-of-its-kind system comprises an ergonomically fitted, non-restrictive harness coupled with a tourniquet-style direct pressure device. The low-weight system can be worn passively by the user to be deployed following an incident or quickly applied to the user then engaged afterward. It provides rapid compression of damaged arteries in critical torso junctional areas that traditional tourniquets cannot reach.”
ARMR system’s mission is to make every soldier a medic and to reduce the number of military deaths caused by hemorrhage that occur annually. The company started in an incubator located in Massachusetts and then relocated to Baltimore, Maryland in 2018.
In 2020, ARMR Systems announced a seed funding raise of $750K that included a $350,000 joint investment from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the Maryland Momentum Fund. Naples, Florida-based Tamiami Angel Fund also participated in the round.
ARMR Systems was featured in the BioBuzz stories, “Baltimore’s Top 10 BioHealth Startup CEOs,” and “Seven Successful BioHealth Companies Led by African-American Entrepreneurs and Industry Leaders.”
Theradaptive, Frederick, Maryland
Theradaptive is currently developing a therapeutic platform that induces targeted tissue repair. The platform’s indications include spinal fusion, soft tissue repair, local therapeutic delivery tissue patches, trauma repair, dental repair, and complex cartilage repair (Source: Theradaptive). The company is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-out that “is developing products based on a proprietary material-binding technology that allows for the targeted delivery of any therapeutic protein on the surface of implants or as depot formulations….The platform can also be used to deliver any biologic on the surface of implantable or injectable carriers.”
According to Alvarez, “The motivation for Theradaptive started when I saw fellow soldiers whose limbs were initially salvaged after a devastating injury but who eventually had to undergo amputation because the state-of-the-art treatments at the time could not control bone repair. When you can’t heal bone in an extremity you end up with a useless limb that has to be amputated. I wanted to develop a way to regenerate these tissues in a controlled way. That is how Theradaptive was born.”
The company is developing a “bone paint” technology called AMP2, which is a substance that can regrow bone in gaps at least 2 inches long. AMP2 is nearing human clinical trials. If approved, AMP2 could provide more targeted and controlled treatments than the current liquid approaches to regrowing bone.
Most recently, Theradaptive announced that it had raised $6.2M in Series A funding, bringing its total raise to approximately $9M. In addition, in November 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted breakthrough medical designation for Theradaptive’s Osteo-Adapt SP Spinal Fusion implant.
Theradaptive’s recent fundraising success and FDA approval are clear signs the company is poised for a successful year ahead.
Juxtopia, Baltimore, Maryland
Juxtopia, founded in 2001, is developing wearable technology that is designed to assist medical training and medical care rendered in difficult environments like space or on the battlefield.
According to Juxtopia’s website, the company “…is a biomedical and information technology (BIO-IT) company and an innovative leader in the development of human performance products. Our continuously innovative and patent-pending technologies are designed to continuously integrate into your daily routine and deliver personalized computational services to improve human health, learning, and physical performance from birth to end of life.”
The company is developing a Context-Aware Mobile Mixed Assistive Device (CAMMRAD) that will operate as AR Goggles that can superimpose data on the lenses, much like what can be seen in some science fiction movies. The goal is to help the wearer increase performance and have access to the data and information that will augment performance. The wearable device seeks to not only train the wearer but also assist in the completion of tasks.
Initially, Juxtopia is focusing on the automaker market, but CAMMRAD has future applications for military medical and equipment maintenance training. The company is currently progressing its CAMMRAD Medic product as well as a defense product called CAMMRAD Soldier.
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Steve brings nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and content creation to the WorkForce Genetics team. He loves writing engaging content and working with partners, companies, and individuals to share their unique stories and showcase their work. Steve holds a BA in English from Providence College and an MA in American Literature from Montclair State University. He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, two sons, and the family dog.