Galway start-up with treatment for joint pain secures €2.75m


Seed funding aimed at bringing an implant to treat arthritis of thumb joint to market.

A Galway-based medical devices start-up that has developed a new joint implant to treat arthritis, has raised €2.75 million in a seed round.

Lorci Orthopaedics, a spin-off from NUI Galway has said it intends to use the financing to commercialise the “InDx” device to treat what is a common but crippling joint condition.

Enterprise Ireland funded the development work at NUI Galway through the Commercialisation Fund Programme, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under Ireland’s European Structural and Investment Funds Programme 2014-2020.

In addition to funding by Enterprise Ireland, the Western Development Commission and the investment arm of KU Leuven University together with a number of industry veterans are the key providers of the funding.

It will provide finance for two years and, as part of its research and development, it will be used to advance product development in preparation for clinical trials and regulatory approval in the United States and Europe.

Arthritis of the thumb base joint causes limited functionality of the hand and effects around 5 percent of the global population. Many of those with the condition struggle with the ability to perform everyday tasks such as using a mobile phone, turning keys in a door or writing due to severe pain in the thumb area.

Each year, more than 200,000 surgical procedures are carried out in the European Union and North America to treat severe thumb base arthritis and, arising from this, the prospect of substantial growth potential for new solutions becomes more apparent.

The company is developing the “InDx” implant to meet this need and access a market estimated at more than €550m per annum and, 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.

“InDx” is believed to be the only implant that successfully mimics the complex motions of a healthy thumb joint, as it provides two points of rotation that can move concurrently and independently while enabling the joint to move in all six degrees of freedom. The implant is also easier to insert and less invasive than any currently available surgical option for this condition.

Dr Brendan Boland, Chief Executive of Loci and, who co-founded the company with Gerry Clarke, said – “Securing this seed round funding will put Loci Orthopaedics firmly on track to achieve the short- and medium-term goals required towards getting this product to market to relieve the daily suffering of many patients”.

Gerry Clarke, the CTO added – “Thumb base arthritis has a huge impact on the quality of life and on the independence of patients as they age. Can you imagine having pain on simple day-to-day tasks such as turning keys in a door, opening a jar or using your phone?

Clarke went on to say – “This is the prospect faced by millions of people who are restricted in their daily activities and enjoyment of life. It is these patients we want to help, by bringing the first evidence-based implant design to market for this common but disabling condition.”