Oct 21, 2016
Plum Alley Investments, a private membership that supports promising women entrepreneurs and gender-diverse teams, has announced the closing of a $560k syndicate in EpiBone, a 3D printing startup using stem cells to grow new bone.
EpiBone is a biotechnology company led by Dr. Nina Tandon that seeks to revolutionize reconstructive bone surgery with the use of 3D printing and other digital fabrication technologies, enabling patients to generate bone from their own stem cells. The company’s mission is to revolutionize the current healthcare system based on pills and devices by creating a living therapy that both reduces the need for multiple surgeries and improves patient wellbeing.
Tandon’s EpiBone was given a huge boost this week when Plum Alley Investments, a private membership that supports promising women entrepreneurs, closed a $560k syndicate in the 3D printing venture. Alongside funders like Partnership Fund for NYC, Breakout Labs, and other noted angel and institutional investors, Plum Alley participated in the company’s recent multi-million capital raise.
“I first met Nina 18 months ago in my work on the committee of senior advisors who work with the President and Board of Columbia to direct the University in the field of entrepreneurship,” said Deborah Jackson, CEO of Plum Alley. “We all know how important our networks are and the opportunity you have when the network is open to both women and men. As a founder of a company and as an investor, I see the momentum and value to more inclusive and robust networks.”
Tandon, who holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and an MBA from Columbia University, stated that having a diverse base of investors and opening the access to more women investors is of critical importance to EpiBone. The EpiBone CEO praised Plum Alley’s goal to “back gender-balanced teams, but also address gender balance at the structural level with investors, to foster a broader, more connected ecosystem of founders and investors.”
EpiBone uses a special 3D printing process to grow new bone for patients. The process involves obtaining a 3D model of a patient’s anatomical defect via a CT scan while extracting adult stem cells from the patient. Using the 3D model obtained through the CT scan, the EpiBone experts design a patient-specific graft and custom-built bioreactor, expanding the stem cells to obtain sufficient quantity. A bone graft is then grown inside the bioreactor which provides an environment for bone formation. Stem cells then remodel into a personalized bone graft ready for implantation.
According to EpiBone, advantages of using its 3D printing technique include achieving a perfect anatomical fit, attaining better integration through the use of a patient’s own cells, and harboring the potential for bone growth and remodeling.
Andrea Turner Moffitt (Plum Alley), Nina Tandon (EpiBone), and Deborah Jackson (Plum Alley)
Plum Alley co-founder Andrea Turner Moffitt recently co-authored a study with the Center for Talent Innovation, finding that “90% of women want to invest in companies that promote social well-being.” The study showed that women control $11.2 trillion of investable assets as primary and joint decision makers, yet women have a significant amount of capital on the sidelines. Plum Alley provides the opportunity for a broader base of investors to become directly involved with purpose-driven companies like EpiBone.
Biomedical engineer Tandon also made our front page a few days ago for non-business reasons, when we wrote about the 3D printed diamond engagement ring she received from husband Noah Keating.