Former Novartis exec helms newly launched satellite bio
Published: Apr 20, 2022
By Hayley Shasteen
Satellite Bio launched Wednesday with $110 million in previously undisclosed Seed and Series A investments led by aMoon Growth. The company brings to the arena bioengineered tissues that repair, restore or replace an organ or tissue functioning, called Tissue Therapeutics.
Tissue Therapeutics is a type of regenerative medicine that bioengineers cells into “Satellites” which can be implanted into patients. Satellites are assembled and programmed through the exclusive Satellite Adaptive Tissue (SAT) platform and can be implanted into patients to restore, repair or even replace dysfunctional or diseased tissue. Satellites provide the body with fully functioning cells that can help regain organ function and prevent the further progression of certain diseases.
In tissue engineering or regenerative medicine, scaffolds or material on which tissue can be grown to mimic a biological process, cells and other molecules are combined into functional tissues, which the body can then use to recreate cells and rebuild tissue. Tissue engineering represents a widespread clinical application. The technology can be used to provide small arteries, skin grafts and cartilage to patients. Artificial skin is the most common use of tissue engineering, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approving StrataGraft for burn patients.
“Tissue Therapeutics replaces organ and tissue systems that break down during disease progression. This next frontier of regenerative medicine has enormous potential to provide solutions for some of the most elusive diseases,” said Dave Lennon, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Satellite Bio. “Our SAT platform can be used with virtually any type of cell across a wide range of clinical applications, enabling the potential to create a broad pipeline of implantable Tissue Therapeutic solutions for patients.”
According to Satellite Bio’s website, the company plans to focus its initial efforts on liver cells which secrete proteins that clear toxins from the bloodstream. However, the platform brings promises of being adaptable, as Satellites can be customizable to different diseases and individual patient characteristics. The company’s mission statement is to bring new hope to patients and families suffering from elusive illnesses which can be challenging to treat using other therapeutics.
Satellite Bio is in good hands with Lennon, who has a previous history in regenerative medicine. Lennon most recently served as president of AveXis and Novartis Gene Therapies, where he led the launch of Zolgensma, a regenerative gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Zolgensma received full FDA approval in May 2021 and restores the genetic functioning of a motor neuron gene in patients, which promotes the survival and support of muscle functioning. Additionally, the company has an exclusive license to a technology originating in several labs which provide more than two decades of collaborative research in tissue technology and bioengineering.
Satellite Bio joins competitor Humacyte, a company that went public in February 2021. Humacyte similarly offers implantable, bioengineered human tissue that is expected to transform into the patient’s own tissue by repopulating with the patient’s own cells. Humacyte’s platform mainly focuses on applications in cardiology, providing solutions for vascular trauma, peripheral arterial disease and bioengineered veins for coronary access bypass grafts.