Startup Licenses Carbon Fiber Tech to Treat Broken Bones, Gets VC Funding

Monday, September 23, 2019
An image of woven carbon fiber material

Tucson, Ariz. –  When an animal or human suffers a broken bone, sometimes a traditional cast is not a viable option due to the location or nature of the fracture. To address the problem, University of Arizona Professor Hamid Saadatmanesh  has invented a flexible carbon fiber fabric designed to be inserted inside and around a fractured bone. The fabric is filled with an inert polymer to inflate the fabric, which then acts as a permanent cast which cannot be rebroken.

Saadatmanesh, a professor in the College of Engineering, has licensed the technology from the University of Arizona and has started a company, MediCarbone, Inc., to commercialize the invention.

Saadatmanesh is already off to a successful start, having received investment funding from UAVenture Capital, a Tucson-based venture capital fund dedicated to the commercialization of discoveries, products, technologies and services emerging from the University of Arizona.

Eventually, the technology could replace traditional casts and is designed to be used on human or animal broken bones when a traditional cast is not a viable option.

The invested funds from UAVC will support further development of the invention. The company’s product will require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for human trials, and plans to begin testing in animals in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“Hamid is a brilliant engineer who has used his entrepreneurial skills and imagination to solve significant worldwide issues through the creative use of carbon fiber. We see huge opportunities for both infrastructure repair and medical utilization of his inventions,” said Fletcher McCusker, CEO and founder of UAVenture Capital.

Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, the UA unit that commercializes technologies and innovations originating from the UA, noted the unique nature of the invention.

“We are excited about Dr. Saadatmanesh’s innovation for bone repair because of the difference the medical application can make and the lack of anything similar in the marketplace,” he said. “This kind of creative application of carbon fiber technology is yet one more example of how Arizona is engaged in moving the fourth industrial revolution forward.”

“As the eighth and ninth investment in UA technology by UAVenture Capital, these ventures are exciting applications of Dr. Saadatmanesh’s research, and amazing examples of the kind of research the UA can produce with positive global impact,” said Robert C. Robbins, president of the University of Arizona. “The ability to accelerate UA discoveries into the marketplace is integral to our role as a global land-grant university, and fundamentally important in our new strategic plan. We are pleased that UAVenture Capital continues to engage with our faculty to help create an ecosystem of research, innovation, invention and commercialization, and I am delighted every time we learn of world-changing inventions by our faculty, students and staff, and the opportunities they create here at the University of Arizona.”

Paul Tumarkin
Sr. Manager, Marketing & Communications