Ossium Health – a bioengineering company developing the world’s first bank of on-demand bone marrow – recently announced a $52 million Series C funding round. The funding round was led by CPMG, with participation from Vivo Capital, First Round Capital, Manta Ray Ventures, Alumni Ventures, and Asahi Kasei. And the company is improving the health, vitality, and longevity of human beings through bioengineering and will deploy this funding to grow its proprietary bone marrow bank dramatically, build on existing clinical trials, and accelerate new product development.
Over the last few decades, bone marrow transplants have been used to successfully treat diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, aplastic anemia, and immune deficiency disorders. However, access to this often life-saving treatment is limited by the healthcare industry’s dependence on living, volunteer donors. And nearly half of the 18,000 patients per year who search for a bone marrow donor do not receive a transplant. Ossium unlocked a new source of stem cells by processing bone marrow from organ donors at scale. And the company’s proprietary recovery, processing, and cryopreservation methods increase the accessibility of treatment and can deliver them months faster than traditional options.
Ossium works with Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) representing just over half of all organ donors in the U.S. to recover viable vertebral bodies for bone marrow and orthopedic donations. And Ossium’s revolutionary recovery process ensures that the bone marrow is phenotypically and functionally equivalent to cells from living donors. This product is then cryopreserved and stored indefinitely until requested by a treating physician. This process has enabled Ossium to create the world’s first bone marrow bank at an industrial scale.
Ossium’s near-term focus is to apply these stem cells in hematologic malignancy treatments, where their product will provide an alternative treatment option for patients that may be unable to find a match in the traditional living donation model. And Ossium is also developing cell therapies to lower the risk of rejection in patients undergoing organ transplants. The company is working with investigators at Columbia University Medical Center on a Phase I intestinal transplant study and is actively researching applications in other areas of organ transplant such as kidney and liver.
This funding round will also support the launch of Ossigraft, an orthopedic product for the repair, replacement, and reconstruction of musculoskeletal defects. And this product is derived from the same vertebral bodies as Ossium’s other products, and provides another opportunity to honor the precious gift of donated tissue. This product is slated to enter the clinic in the second half of 2023.
“Over the last seven decades, more than 1.5 million patients with hematologic malignancies have received life-saving bone marrow transplants, yet only a fraction of the clinical potential of this procedure has been realized. Ossium has unlocked a vast, new source of bone marrow that can be deployed and infused within days, rather than the 3-4 months it typically takes to obtain stem cells from living volunteers. Bringing this solution to scale will create an agile, fast-acting, and more effective blood cancer treatment paradigm.”
— Kevin Caldwell, CEO & Co-Founder of Ossium Health
“Organ Procurement Organizations like ours act as the steward of the donor and their family. Ossium’s solution allows donors to extend their gift to make an even bigger impact. We trust Ossium Health, which is a necessary foundation for a partnership like ours with so much at stake. We know that each donation is going to save lives and advance the study of bone marrow transplants and cell research.”
— Suzanne Conrad, CEO of Iowa Donor Network
“I was immediately attracted to research using bone marrow cells from Ossium’s bank — both preclinically and now in the upcoming clinical trials. These cells are just as viable for bone marrow transplant as cells from a living donor, and speeding up the bone marrow transplant process will limit the likelihood of disease progression or infection that can eliminate transplantation as an option. These cells will provide much needed flexibility to physicians and their patients.”
Dr. Markus Mapara, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and the Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BMT) program at Columbia University Medical Center
“Biomedical innovations can take decades to make a real-world impact. But in just seven years, Ossium is already conducting clinical trials and scaling its marrow bank. It’s rare that you have a company like Ossium that can do so much good so quickly. We’re proud to support this company that is uniquely positioned to solve a detrimental shortage and that has plans to expand research into other life-saving cell therapies.”
— Bill Trenchard, managing partner at First Round Capital and Ossium Health board member