Israeli biotechnology startup Nurami Medical raises NIS 2.5m

Nazareth-based company is developing a biodegradable patch, using nanofibers, to replace and regenerate soft tissue damaged in neurosurgery

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of doctors in an operating room at a hospital in Jerusalem. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of doctors in an operating room at a hospital in Jerusalem. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Nurami Medical, an Israeli biotechnology startup, has secured NIS 2.5 million ($650,000) in financing from the Alfred Mann Foundation and private investors. The company is developing the ArtiFascia, a biodegradable nanofiber patch for use in neurosurgery.

The patches mimic the dura mater, a protective membrane underneath the skull that protects the brain and spinal cord. The patches can be applied to tissue damaged during neurosurgery to protect against bacteria and prevent leakage of cerebrospinal fluid. The patch is made of biocompatible synthetic polymers which do not induce inflammation and degrade safely in the body a few months after they are applied.

The company was founded in April 2014 by Dr. Amir Bahar, a graduate of the Weizmann Institute of Science and veteran of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and the Technion, and Nora Nseir, a biomedical engineer from the Technion and entrepreneur. They met while working on a joint project at the Technion before deciding to strike out on their own, Bahar said.

They received a grant of NIS 3 million from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist and Next Generation Technology, a medical technology incubator in Nazareth supported by the Chief Scientist that aims to promote Arab and Jewish business collaboration and entrepreneurship.

While at the incubator, they developed their flagship product. The biodegradable patch substitutes for the body’s dura mater. It is a kind of bandage that can be placed on the brain after neurosurgery that uses a smart sealant to protect against bacteria, prevent cerebrospinal fluid leakage and allow new tissue to grow quickly.

Dr. Amir Bahar of Nurami Medical. (Veronica Szarejko)
Dr. Amir Bahar of Nurami Medical. (Veronica Szarejko)

The product is based on nanotechnology and nanofibers, which had not been utilized in this kind of product before, Bahar said. It supports better regeneration and recuperation of the body’s tissue because the nanofibers are designed to be similar to natural tissue.

“The body thinks that it’s its own native tissue. The nanofiber mimics and is very similar to the native tissue of the body because of shape and size and form, so it allows better regeneration and faster healing for the tissue and also for the patient,” Bahar said.

While at the incubator, they developed the exact specifications for the nanofibers to mimic the body’s native tissue as closely as possible.

Nora Nseir, CTO of Nurami Medical. (Bashara Risek)
Nora Nseir, CTO of Nurami Medical. (Bashara Risek)

Nurami completed its two-year incubator period at Next Generation technology about six months ago, and is now independent.

The company was approached by the Alfred Mann Foundation, a non-profit specializing in commercializing and developing medical products and solutions founded by Jewish-American entrepreneur Alfred Mann in 1985.

It plans to use the funding to continue developing the product and to conduct preliminary clinical trials on humans in the next year.

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