History & Profile
NovaHep is a pioneer within the field of regenerative medicine, developing stem cell technology for generating human tissues that can be used in reconstructive surgery or for toxicity and biocompatibility studies. The company was founded in 2005 on the basis of research conducted at the Huddinge unit of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. NovaHep relocated to Gothenburg in 2012 and is focusing on the industrialization of the impressive technological advancements which had been successfully applied for the treatment of patients by Gothenburg University in collaboration with the Transplantation Surgery Department at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
Initially, NovaHep focused its research activities towards a system in which to test drugs for liver toxicity without the use of laboratory animals. Although still a prioritized research and development area, through ground-breaking innovation NovaHep has changed its core activities to be focused on the development of a unique type of product – biological, individualized blood vessels (a range of tissue-engineered arteries and veins, with and without valves).
The core product provided by NovaHep can be used to replace non-functioning blood vessels in patients with different types of vascular disease. Traditional treatments all have their limitations and complications, typically implying adverse side effects for patients, who are oftentimes faced with severely reduced quality of life and shortened life span. These traditional solutions consequently imply a huge economic burden for society.
The improved alternative provided by NovaHep implies developing individualized blood vessels, built up by the patient’s own cells seeded onto the decellularized extracellular matrix of a donor blood vessel. The basis for developing these blood vessels is a unique and advanced stem cell technology, with unique underlying methods and processes. Major benefits for the patient, implied by this technology, are improved quality of life and most likely also prolonged survival as the underlying disease can be cured instead of treated. Further, no immunosuppression is needed. For hospitals, health care providers and society, major benefits are reduced costs due to fewer complications that need hospital care and shorter periods of leave of absence for patients (more information, including successfully reached milestones and future milestones, is found under the “Innovation” and “Applications” sections, respectively).
„NovaHep strives to deliver a life changing impact to patients – to provide “Vessels for LIFE” – and to provide for major benefits for hospitals, healthcare providers and society – globally“
The core product of NovaHep is patented and proof-of-concept for the underlying technology was first shown in 2011 when a tissue-engineered vein was transplanted into a 10-year-old girl to replace a non-functional vein – the first time ever that an engineered biological vein was transplanted into a human. Since then, the technology has been applied in two additional and successful surgeries carried out at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
NovaHep is about to take the next step, to enter the clinical trial phase and to obtain GMP-accreditation in order for scaling the application of its unique technology.
Leveraging on great achievements, the research and development activities of NovaHep – leading to innovative and ground-breaking technology, methods and products – represent an enormous potential. NovaHep’s technology could in the future potentially even make possible the individualized engineering of entire organs of e.g. tailor-made livers and hearts for transplantation from donors and potentially even from animals. Such future advancements would be seen as a response to the challenges of today – the limitations and complications associated with traditional transplantations (more information about potential applications is found under the “Applications” section).