The Center for Disease Control estimates that 50% of all adult Americans will experience arthritis at some point in their lives. For the millions of young patients between the ages of 40 and 65 who have failed medical management and have a marked decrease in daily activity, limited surgical options exist to treat advanced cartilage degeneration. At such a young age, a total joint replacement, which only lasts 10-20 years, is not an ideal solution because these patients generally have high activity levels that result in multiple revision surgeries in their lifetime. Since revision surgeries are associated with significant complications and co-morbidities, they are avoided by orthopaedic surgeons if at all possible. Often, these patients often suffer through pain, decreased mobility and lifestyle limitations caused by end-stage arthritis for 10-20 years before becoming candidates for joint replacement.
Cytex was founded to try to address this problem. Our first-generation products are bio-artificial cartilage resurfacing products that can be implanted via a simplified surgical approach and will provide relief for these young patients with end-stage arthritis. Moreover, Cytex’s resurfacing technology preserves the bone in the joint, leaving the path to future treatment, if needed, open and flexible.
Cytex Therapeutics was founded in 2006 after Dr. Farsh Guilak submitted a business plan for the company to the Duke StartUp Challenge contest. The business plan won first place and seed funding was awarded to incorporate and kickstart Cytex Therapeutics. The Cytex business plan went on to win numerous national and international awards, while Cytex’s core technology has been awarded nearly $8 million to date in local, state, and federal grants due to its innovation and commercial promise. Cytex’s core technology is based on more than 20 years of innovative research conducted in Dr. Guilak’s orthopaedic research lab. After founding the company, Dr. Guilak hired Dr. Brad Estes and Dr. Frank Moutos, the key scientists who developed this technology. Cytex’s mission is to apply leading edge cartilage tissue engineering technologies to innovative products to alleviate the chronic pain of millions of patients worldwide who suffer from damaged cartilage and osteoarthritis.
Farshid Guilak, Ph.D.,President. Dr. Guilak is Professor of Orthopaedic Research and the Co-Director of Regenerative Medicine at Washington University, and one of the nation’s leading experts in cartilage tissue engineering. In addition to his many academic accomplishments, Dr. Guilak also has extensive industry experience, having acted as consultant for several start-up companies in the areas of stem cells and tissue engineering, as well as for several large pharmaceutical companies.
Bradley T. Estes, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development. Dr. Estes has held various research and development positions in industry in addition to acting as a consultant for both small, start-up and large, established medical device companies. In total, he has 25 years of industry experience in medical device design, research and development of orthopaedic devices, and extensive experience interacting with FDA for the purposes of regulatory approvals. Dr. Estes also has broad experience in the chondrogenic development of adult stem cells and holds 50 patents associated with medical devices.
Franklin T. Moutos, Ph.D., Vice President, Technology Development. Dr. Moutos has a Master’s degree in Textile Engineering from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Dr. Moutos has over 15 years of industry experience in biomedical research and development, as well as specialized entrepreneurial training provided by the Kaufman foundation. He has broad experience in the application of textile and biomedical engineering principles to the development of biomaterial scaffolds for tissue regeneration.
Vincent P. Willard, Ph.D., Director of Regenerative Therapies. Dr. Willard has over 14 years of research experience in molecular and stem cell biology with expertise in cartilage engineering, stem cell differentiation and gene therapy. Dr. Willard holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Rice University and completed an extensive post doctoral fellowship in orthopedic tissue engineering at Duke University. He is keenly interested in using his expertise to engineer orthopedic tissues that can thrive in an inflammatory environment and in developing screening platforms to combat OA.
Christine A. Estes, Director of Business Operations, Ms. Estes oversees daily business operations and federal compliance efforts. Ms. Estes has held various positions in small and large businesses, including software consulting and training for management, tax preparation, and human resource roles. Ms. Estes holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.