Plymouth Startup to Commercialize Bone Regeneration Technology


A new collaboration for Plymouth-based Tissue Regeneration Systems will allow the medical device startup to move forward with bringing its skeletal reconstruction and bone regeneration technology platform to market.

With technology licensed from the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin, the company can manufacture restorable implants that fill in for missing bone in cases of significant trauma or tumor removals, says Jim Fitzsimmons, president and CEO of Tissue Regeneration Systems.

“Clinically, if you break your leg, they can just set your fracture,” Fitzsimmons says. “But if you shatter your leg, it’s not a simple matter of putting a metal plate in there and having it heal. You have this big area of missing bone to deal with.”

Fitzsimmons says the technology helps in skeletal reconstruction by developing a restorable implant that grows in and through fabricated scaffolding. “Then, over a period of two-plus years, the scaffolding that we constructing in the patient resorbs, which means it goes away and completely replaces itself with bones,” he says.

The company’s recent alliance with Johnson & Johnson Innovation and DePuy Synthes Products will only help in the commercialization of the technology. The organizations are working on a collaboration to reconstruct long bones in the leg. While DePuy will provide the steel rod that it’s placed in to bridge the gap where bone is missing to provide structure stability, TRS will develop the implant that wraps around the steel rod.

“It develops a full comprehensive system to reconstruct long bones in orthopedics,” Fitzsimmons says.

The startup recently moved into a new laboratory and manufacturing facility at 47601 Commerce Center Dr. in Plymouth, where Fitzsimmons says they will partner with larger participants in the medical industry to co-develop products that are fabricated from their technology platform.

The alliance is one of 12 that Johnson & Johnson Innovation — which works with life science researchers and entrepreneurs in the development of early-stage technologies — has established this year.

“The future of health care will be defined by companies, academic institutions, and governments that collaborate to leverage existing strengths, while at the same time think outside current paradigms and experiment with new ways of innovating,” says Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson. “By being where these new frontiers in science and technology are being forged, our goal is to translate these insights into promising treatments for the future.”