synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels for specific cell therapies

VivArt-X develops synthetic extracellular matrix (ECM) hydrogels for specific cell therapies. Our lead indication will revolutionize breast reconstructive surgery in women who have undergone breast tissue removal after breast cancer diagnosis. Approximately 50% of the 2 million breast cancer patients worldwide need cancerous tissue removal and require breast reconstructive surgery. The estimated global market of breast reconstructive surgery is 2.7 billion in 2021, with a CAGR of 10%.

Current breast reconstruction methods make use of toxic silicone implants, infection-prone autologous flap surgery or autologous fat grafting. Unfortunately, the injection of fat cells in this fat grafting procedure results in 70% of death cells within months, owing to bad cell engraftment and loss of blood supply. To overcome these complications multiple fat injections and surgery to remove inflamed tissue are needed.

VivArt-X offers a revolutionary synthetic injectable, degradable ECM hydrogel conveniently mixed with autologous fat cells to achieve excellent cell engraftment, and as a result of that, personalized breast reconstruction and ultimately regeneration.

Our synthetic ECM hydrogel is based on supramolecular components that can be tuned to the requirements of a specific cell type with respect to the mechanical and biological properties. We have shown to be able to culture various single cell types, complex cell aggregates and organoids, a.o. derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. Importantly, preclinical studies in small and large animal models have demonstrated safety of this class of supramolecular hydrogels in vivo. To show clinical validation of our first product we need an investment of 8M Euro. To achieve proof of concept, we need a first investment of at least 500K Euro.

The team of VivArt-X combines expertise in biomedical engineering and supramolecular chemistry and has excellent experience with business development. VivArt-X technology is developed in the research group of Professor Patricia Dankers. She is the creator of the original idea and IP holder and is co-founder of the company UPyTher. Dr. Dan Jing Wu has a scientific background with entrepreneurship experience, from product development and validation of business viability, till marketing strategies. Dr. Bart Nelissen is an experienced business developer who enables the commercialization of many companies in the domains of health, chemistry, and materials. Dr. Juliette van den Dolder is a seasoned entrepreneur who successfully founded multiple start-up companies related to hydrogels for cell culture.

Dan Jing Wu
Patricia Dankers
Startup activities

Venture Challenge Summer 2021

Dan Jing Wu