ProChon Biotech closes $4 million bridge loan from existing backers

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ProChon Biotech Ltd. closes a $4 million bridge loan from its holding company and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation to fund an ongoing clinical trial and the manufacture of a key element of its BioCart knee cartilage repair system.

ProChon Biotech Ltd. closed a $3.95 million convertible bridge loan it plans to use to fund ongoing clinical trials and the manufacture of a key element of its BioCart knee repair system.

The Woburn, Mass.-based company, which is developing a system to repair damaged cartilage, said the loan came from prior backers ProChon Holdings B.V. and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. ProChon’s BioCart system uses a proprietary fibroblast growth factor technology to help regenerate damaged cartilage in the knee.

The cash will come in handy for ProChon’s ongoing Phase II clinical trial, which the companyexpanded late last year. That put it on track to bring the BioCart system to market in the U.S. and Europe in 2014, according to CEO Patrick O’Donnell.

O’Donnell told MassDevice that the bridge loan will convert into equity during the company’s next financing round. ProChon is in the process of enrolling its sixth and final U.S. site for the Phase II trial, he said, taking the worldwide total to 10, and has signed up 15 patients for the study.

ProChon, which inked a manufacturing deal with Swiss firm Lonza to make the growth factor at a plant in Hopkinton, Mass. The BioCart system, which cultures a healthy sample of knee cartilage and implants it back into the damaged knee, uses the FGF2v product to stimulate cartilage growth on an implant scaffold. Part of the bridge loan will go toward paying for the Lonza contract, O’Donnell said.

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