Cohera Medical Inc. awarded patent, second SBIR.

Cohera Medical Inc., a Pittsburgh-based medical device company developing a line of novel surgical adhesives, has been awarded a U.S. patent on its innovative surgical adhesive. The technology, developed at the University of Pittsburgh by Drs. Eric Beckman and Michael Buckley, provides a platform for strong, re-absorbable adhesives for use inside the body.

Surgeons have needed a non-toxic strong surgical tissue adhesive for years; products on the market have proved disappointing in the operating room, gaining only a 7% share of their market potential. These adhesives fall into two main categories: superglue-type products that are strong but cannot be used inside the body because they break down into toxic byproducts; and fibrin glue products, which are biocompatible but create a weak bond, are expensive, and are difficult to prepare during surgery. Surgeons want a product that could encompass the best properties of both products: easy to use and strong enough to hold tissues together well, but biocompatible and absorbable so that the adhesive can be used internally.

Cohera’s first product, TissuGluTM, meets surgeons’ needs for a strong, safe and easy-to-use tissue glue. Unlike superglue products, it is biocompatible and biodegradable, making it safe for internal use. Unlike fibrin glue products, it is strong, easy to use, and contains no human or animal product derivatives. Lab studies have demonstrated that bonds created with the adhesive are as strong after one hour as a normal wound after a week of healing. Because the adhesive is created from sugars and amino acids, the components it breaks down into are designed to be benign and to lead to virtually no immune-system response.

Currently in pre-clinical testing, TissuGlu is designed to adhere tissues to prevent fluid accumulation in deep wounds.

Cohera has also won a Phase 1 SBIR Award for the design and development of a bioresorbable bone adhesive for orthopedic use. This award, for about $130,000, is the company’s second SBIR award this year. Dr. Eric Beckman, chief scientific officer and Cohera Medical co-founder, will serve as the principal investigator on the study.

“The grant of Cohera’s first patent reinforces the novelty of our core technology platform, and adds significant value to the company,” said Patrick Daly, Cohera president and CEO. “The SBIR award further reinforces the breadth and potential for a variety of products that meet surgeons’ needs across many specialties.”

Consulting group Frost and Sullivan estimates that, of the several million surgical procedures undertaken per year, 3.7 million could potentially use tissue adhesives. That translates to a market of $1.5 billion. Subject to finalizing the focus of its FDA approval strategy, Cohera expects to target the plastic surgery market initially. Focusing on facelifts, eyelid surgeries and tummy tucks would result in a preliminary market that includes over 450,000 procedures (25% of the total annual plastic surgery procedures). With a 10% product penetration of only this subset, annual revenues could potentially exceed $18 million for the company. As product adoption occurs, the company also expects to expand into the $1.1 billion traditional wound-closure market, where sutures and clips are being used due to a lack of good alternatives. Reimbursement is not anticipated to be a risk factor.

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