RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – BioAesthetics, which provides a nipple-areolar complex graft for patients undergoing breast reconstruction, is stepping up plans to commercialize its lead product after having closed on $5 million in financing.

“We are very pleased to have had such interest in our Series A, allowing us to close it on Dec. 30, which will help us further accelerate the NACgraft commercialization,” said Nicholas Pashos, founder and CEO of BioAesthetics, in a statement. “On behalf of our Series A co-lead and Director Dr. Sandra Coufal, and the whole BioAesthetics team, we are thrilled with FemHealth co-leading this round and enthusiastically welcome their Managing Partner Maneesha Ghiya to our Board of Directors.”

The company had originally sought $2.5 million. It has received funding support from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and The Launch Place.

Screen shot from BioAethetics website

Last fall, BioAesthetics said it had raised roughly $4.5 million, according to a securities filing. Thirty-seven investors contributed to the round, which kicked off on Sept. 9. The Triangle company is still seeking to raise another $1.7 million.

BioAesthetics was founded in 2015 as a Tulane University spin-out with the mission to improve reconstruction options for breast cancer patients after they undergo mastectomies, according to Crunchbase. It is now headquartered in RTP.

The BioAesthetics’ initial product is a tissue-engineered nipple-areolar complex (NAC). This product will be provided to plastic and reconstructive surgeons as an off-the-shelf ready, acellular, NAC graft.

During the breast reconstruction phase, after a mastectomy, the surgeon would engraft the NAC graft in position onto the patient’s reconstructed breast.

The patient’s body would then use this NAC graft as a building frame to regenerate their own NAC. This patent-pending product is currently in the pre-clinical phase.

The company in December said it was “validating its clinical manufacturing process” and that a “collaborative clinical study at Stanford Medicine” was expected to begin early this year.

“The clinical study will follow, over a 12-month period, 15 patients who receive nipple reconstruction with the NACgraft and previously underwent autologous breast reconstruction as part of treatment for breast cancer,” BioAethetics said. “The primary goal of the study is to evaluate healing time, with the secondary objectives of assessing patients’ satisfaction, well-being, self-esteem, body image, psychological well-being, nipple dimensions, and sensitivity.”