Large bone damage is a problem that emergency rooms and surgeons the world over are struggling to cope with. Bone damage is caused by trauma, cancer, infection and malformation, and patients have to suffer through multiple painful surgeries. Doctors transplant bone from the patient themselves, cadavers and animals, with the help of polymer-based and metal implants.
The implants usually require long healing times, and often they are unsuccessful. Patients risk infection, and chances are high that the body will reject the implant.
Bamboo is one of the strongest, most flexible and lightweight trees in nature. What’s more, as CEO and founder of Greenbone Lorenzo Pradella noticed, its structure is surprisingly similar to bone.
“We take bamboo and we shape it, according to the bone that we want to regenerate,” Pradella explains. “Then, we completely transform it, to achieve the same chemical composition as bone.”
The porosity of bamboo is similar to bone structure, which allows blood vessels to attach and grow around it. Human blood cells enter the implant, recognise it as real bone, and treat the bamboo exactly like bone, digesting it, laying down bone cells and building vascular structures around it. Finally, the bamboo implant completely disappears as it is replaced entirely by new, natural bone.
The first implants carried out on patients reported excellent results, meaning that a promising future is expected for the technology.
“[In the early stages] in order to move forward, we needed to attract investors and partners, to allow Greenbone to be properly financed, and to support product commercialisation,” says Pradella. META Ventures was one of the first fund managers to believe in their technology.
Altogether, three million euro was raised in the first round of investment for Greenbone. The original investors included META Ventures and business angels from Italian Angels for Growth, amongst others.
In 2017, META Ventures took part in the second round of investment – the second largest in Italy that year – this round raised a total of €8.4 million for Greenbone. Overall, META has invested €1.990k in Greenbone.
The next steps for Greenbone are to secure European health and safety certification, the so-called CE mark.
Then, they will set their sights on the US.
META VENTURES (http://www.meta-group.com/investment) is part of the META Investment Platform, which invests in fast-growing companies throughout Europe. META Ventures guides early-stage investments in high-growth companies in Italy and abroad. It has over 20 years of experience in fund management and in the management of public-private financial instruments. Altogether, META Ventures has invested in more than 200 companies.