New KU Leuven spin-off Loci Orthopaedics develops joint implant for thumb base joint arthritis

Loci Orthopaedics Ltd. announced the closing of a €2.75M seed round investment to commercialise a new life-changing, ergonomic orthopaedic joint implant for thumb base joint arthritis, a common but crippling joint condition. Loci Orthopaedics is a medical device spin-off from KU Leuven in Belgium and the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). The company is developing the “InDx Implant” to address this unmet clinical need and access a surgical market estimated at over €550 million per annum.

“Our investors are made up of a combination of institutions including the Gemma Frisius Fund of KU Leuven, which was recently ranked by Reuters as Europe’s most innovative university, as well as Enterprise Ireland and the Western Development Commission. These institutions are complemented by some MedTech industry veterans who have taken their own companies from start-up, through huge growth, and on to significant exits”, said Dr. Brendan Boland, CEO and co-founder of Loci Orthopaedics. Key device features The Loci Orthopaedics team have been working with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons and have used their cutting-edge research as the basis for the implant design. These surgeons based in Stanford University, Brown University and KU Leuven are key thought leaders in this area of orthopaedic medicine. Professor Filip Stockmans of KU Leuven has numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on hand and thumb base joint surgery. He is one of the most prolific thumb base joint implant users in the world, with the best clinical outcomes recorded and studied of any European hand surgeon.  The InDx implant is the only implant that can fully mimic the natural but complex motions of the thumb joint providing a more physiologically correct surgical outcome. The device is also easier to insert and less invasive than any currently available surgical treatment option for this condition.  Therefore, the InDx implant will provide excellent clinical outcomes and decrease the risk of surgical and clinical complications. The InDx device offers an exciting new, patient-sensitive treatment option to patients and surgeons and has been designed in conjunction with three of the world’s leading hand surgeons ensuring all end-user requirements are met.    Clinical need  Arthritis of the thumb base joint causes significant functional impairment of the hand. Those with this condition are either restricted in, or often lose the ability to perform, everyday tasks such as using a mobile phone, turning keys in a door, and even writing due to increasingly severe pain.    Prevalence  5% of the population suffer severe thumb base arthritis, making the condition more prevalent than arthritis of the hip. This equates to over 40 million people in the US and EU with significant symptoms of thumb base joint arthritis. This condition is most common in those aged over 65. As the population of the US and EU ages, the number affected by this debilitating condition is set to increase dramatically in the next 15 years.  Market opportunity  There are more than 200,000 surgical procedures carried out each year in the EU and the US combined for severe thumb base arthritis. However, it is estimated that only 10% of those who are clinically indicated for surgery progress to surgical intervention for this condition due to the lack of a reliable and clinically satisfactory solution. The current most commonly performed surgical intervention for this condition was first developed back in the 1940s. This wide gap between symptomatic patients and patients currently progressing to surgery, demonstrates the substantial growth potential for new therapy solutions.