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Student Excellence: Skin Deep


Skin Deep

University of Missouri Student Entrepreneurs and Professor partner to launch new startup.

Rebecca Rone kept telling her colleagues in the Biodesign and Innovation Program that they had to see Dr. Sheila Grant’s research. Rone had worked in Grant’s bioengineering lab as an undergraduate and knew her work had product development potential.

The biodesign program brings together recently graduated doctors, engineers and businesspeople for a one-year fellowship, challenging them to identify a medical need in the operating room and develop technology to meet it.

In 2005, Grant published her first paper on how nanoparticles enhance the structural integrity of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. By 2009, she was fashioning a promising collagen gel into a porous patch  for hernia repair surgery.

When Rone and team visited the lab, Grant held up her gooey creation to explain what she was trying to do. Jonathan Thompson, the surgeon on the team immediately recognized its potential as a dermal filler—injectable solutions that reduce skin wrinkles and folds. That same year, with a dream of smoothing fine lines—and ultimately developing therapies for brittle bones and bone loss—EternoGen was born.

EternoGen now has offices in Columbia, Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri and Stockholm, Sweden. It has attracted more than $2 million in investments and is now in the commercialization phase.

Dr. Sheila Grant is a professor of bioengineering at MU. She also serves as chief technical officer for EternoGen.

Rebecca Rone, a 2006 MU graduate, now serves exclusively as Eternogen’s director of clinical and regulatory affairs.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine