Making no bones: NUS GRIP entrepreneurs invent revolutionary technology that heals fractures
The NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP) has borne fruit in a young company, poised to take off in the medical technology (medtech) industry with its ground-breaking innovation in fracture fixation.
Founded by NUS Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Manoj Gupta and his former PhD supervisees, Dr Vyasaraj Manakari and Dr Gururaj Parande, Magloy Tech has invented OrthoMag, a first-of-its-kind bone implant that dissolves naturally in the body as the bone heals.
OrthoMag addresses the caveats of prevailing permanent metallic implants, which require a second revision surgery for removal after bone recovery. The novel implant was developed using a biocompatible, non-toxic magnesium alloy that lends it a strength equivalent to titanium to provide superior mechanical stability and bone support to facilitate the healing process. More importantly, the implant dissolves completely in the body over time.
OrthoMag significantly reduces post-surgery complications, and can potentially render revision operations obsolete in the trauma fixation sector hence reducing the long-term physical, financial and emotional burden on patients.
“Revision surgeries for permanent metallic implants today will typically cost an additional S$5,000 to S$10,000 to the patients, and in some cases cause a risk for post-operative infections, wound healing problems, refractures, nerve damage, and long-term pain. OrthoMag can potentially save the overall healthcare system several billions of dollars a year by avoiding a second surgical intervention,” shared NUS Dentistry Assistant Professor Raymond Wong, who is also an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Support from NUS GRIP
Magloy Tech was selected by Medtech Innovator as one of the 20 leading medtech startups transforming the healthcare industry in the Asia-Pacific region for its innovation. Of their success, Magloy Tech’s founders cited NUS GRIP’s suite of support as an invaluable resource in kickstarting their enterprise.
“NUS GRIP has been instrumental in assisting us to convert our research at the laboratory level to a product with immense commercial value. The programme has helped us understand the important markets in our product space, identify the key value we as a company will bring to our potential customers, and guided us on the dos and don’ts of the start-up world,” said Assoc Prof Gupta.
“Our venture development manager at GRIP, Mr David Sher, also played a strategic role in connecting us with Osteopore International, and advising us on how to develop the partnership framework so as to bring OrthoMag to the market,” said co-founder Dr Manakari.
Mr Goh Khoon Seng, CEO of Osteopore International, added, “The technology developed by Magloy Tech in bioresorbable magnesium plates and screws complements Osteopore’s regenerative implant technology. When used together, surgeons can reconstruct craniofacial defects and leave no permanent implants behind after the defect is healed.”
Magloy Tech has secured $200,000 worth of funding from NUS GRIP and Origgin Ventures, as well as a $500,000 Startup SG Tech Grant by Enterprise Singapore. Some of their other plans in the pipeline include the development of second-generation products and complementary technologies through the start-up’s close affiliation with NUS research. There also lies tremendous potential in the application of OrthoMag in other sectors such as aerospace engineering, given that the use of magnesium-based alloys in the components of airplane cabins would increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.