Coralville startup CartilaGen receives IEDA grant

Medtech firm developing drug for osteoarthritis prevention

A Coralville medical technology startup has received an innovation grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board.

CartilaGen in Coralville was awarded a $125,000 Demonstration Fund grant by the IEDA board at their meeting Nov. 18. According to a news release CartilaGen produces an intra-articular injection of small-molecule drug which effectively prevents post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) – an entirely novel feat that has yet to be demonstrated by any therapeutic. The technology has demonstrated strong preclinical results and is now advanced to the stage of human clinical testing.

The company plans to use its award for product refinement, market planning, market entry activities and key personnel.

A medical technology startup spun out from the University of Iowa’s Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, CartilaGen was named the second-place winner of the Pappajohn Iowa Entrepreneurial Venture Competition in 2019, receiving a $25,000 award.

The IEDA awarded assistance to five established companies and two startups at their Nov. 18 meeting, which will assist in the creation of 266 jobs and result in $202 million in new capital investment for the state. One of the five established companies, Convergence Energy, received a financial incentive package to open a new manufacturing facility in Fairfax.

Other existing companies receiving IEDA awards included Charles City animal health company Zoetis, Council Bluffs cold storage company IceCap, Creston food extrusion company Benson Hill and Fort Dodge animal pharmaceutical firm AML Riverside. Another startup, Des Moines content marketing firm Hummingbirds, also received a demonstration grant from the IEDA.