Ossium lands $52m for world’s first bone marrow bank

Bioengineering company Ossium Health has raised a $52 million Series C funding round as it aims to improve human health, vitality and longevity through the world’s first bank of on-demand bone marrow. The company will use the funding to grow its bone marrow bank, build on existing clinical trials and accelerate new product development. The round was led by CPMG, with participation from Vivo Capital, First Round Capital, Manta Ray Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Asahi Kasei.

For many years, bone marrow transplants have been a successful treatment for various diseases like leukemias, lymphomas, aplastic anemia and immune deficiency disorders. However, access to bone marrow has been limited due to reliance on living, volunteer donors, and almost half of the patients seeking bone marrow donors each year cannot receive the transplant they need.

Ossium has discovered a new source of stem cells by processing bone marrow from organ donors on a large scale. This proprietary method not only increases the accessibility of treatment but also shortens the delivery time significantly compared to traditional options. The company’s recovery process ensures the bone marrow’s equivalence in function and phenotype to cells from living donors. These stem cells are then cryopreserved and stored until requested by a treating physician, ensuring availability when needed.

“Over the last seven decades, more than 1.5 million patients with hematologic malignancies have received life-saving bone marrow transplants, yet only a fraction of the clinical potential of this procedure has been realized,” said Kevin Caldwell, CEO of Ossium Health. “Ossium has unlocked a vast, new source of bone marrow that can be deployed and infused within days, rather than the 3-4 months it typically takes to obtain stem cells from living volunteers. Bringing this solution to scale will create an agile, fast-acting, and more effective blood cancer treatment paradigm.”

“Organ Procurement Organizations like ours act as the steward of the donor and their family. Ossium’s solution allows donors to extend their gift to make an even bigger impact,” said Suzanne Conrad, CEO of Iowa Donor Network. “We trust Ossium Health, which is a necessary foundation for a partnership like ours with so much at stake. We know that each donation is going to save lives and advance the study of bone marrow transplants and cell research.”

In addition to its primary focus on hematologic malignancy treatments, Ossium is also developing cell therapies to lower the risk of rejection in patients undergoing organ transplants. The company is working with investigators at Columbia University Medical Center on a Phase I intestinal transplant study, and is exploring applications in kidney and liver transplantation.

“I was immediately attracted to research using bone marrow cells from Ossium’s bank — both preclinically and now in the upcoming clinical trials,” said Dr Markus Mapara, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “These cells are just as viable for bone marrow transplant as cells from a living donor, and speeding up the bone marrow transplant process will limit the likelihood of disease progression or infection that can eliminate transplantation as an option. These cells will provide much needed flexibility to physicians and their patients.”

“Biomedical innovations can take decades to make a real-world impact,” said Bill Trenchard, managing partner at First Round Capital. “But in just seven years, Ossium is already conducting clinical trials and scaling its marrow bank. It’s rare that you have a company like Ossium that can do so much good so quickly.”

The new funding will also support the launch of Ossigraft, an orthopedic product for the repair, replacement and reconstruction of musculoskeletal defects. This product is derived from the same vertebral bodies as Ossium’s other products and is expected to enter the clinic in the second half of 2023.