SMC Biotechnology Inc. is developing a carbohydrate that promotes bone healing by enhancing the regenerative effects of bone morphogenetic protein 2, without actually increasing levels of the growth factor. The company expects its approach will avoid safety issues associated with a marketed recombinant BMP2.

BMP2 promotes bone growth by inducing osteoblast differentiation. Medtronic Inc.'s InFuse Bone graft is an implantable product that delivers recombinant BMP2. InFuse has FDA clearance for use in orthopedic indications, but its clinical utility remains controversial, according to SMC President and CEO Michael Crockett, who said the main issue is the possible risk of tumorigenicity.