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Likarda Founder Dr. Lisa Stehno-Bittel Becomes Member of College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

by Danni Hammontree | Mar 16, 2021

Submission By: Dr. Lisa Stehno-Bittel


Stehno-BittelThis month Kansas City’s own Dr. Lisa Stehno-Bittel, founder of Likarda LLC, was welcomed into the acclaimed College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). The AIMBE College of Fellows is comprised of an elite group of prestigious medical and biological engineers that include Nobel laureates, Presidential Medal winners and members of the National Academies. Fellows are nominated by their peers and represent the top 2% of the medical and biological engineering community. The induction event will be virtual this year on March 26th, 2021.

Lisa has more than 25 years of research experience in cell biology and diabetes, over 70 publications and numerous patents. She is also an invited speaker at scientific and business conferences globally.  She licensed her initial patents from the University of Kansas Medical Center and founded the biotech firm, Likarda.  That year during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Likarda was named one of the 50 Most Promising Start-Ups in the World.  As President, she guided the company to a revenue-positive status within 18 months of launching.  Lisa received her PhD from the University of Missouri and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at Mayo. She has won numerous awards and was named by Ingram’s Magazine as One of Fifty Kansans You Should Know.

Likarda, located in the KC Animal Health Corridor, is leading the cell therapy field with novel ways to protect injected cells from attack by the recipient’s immune system, while optimizing the cell function. Just as a drug is packaged with inactive ingredients to improve the storage, administration and function of the active chemical, cell therapies require a delivery system to do the same. Likarda uses its unique Core-Shell Spherification™ encapsulation technology to coat cells with a stealth hydrogel (similar to gelatin) that optimizes the cell health and function while maintaining them in specific locations in the body.  The company has a library of over 50 different hydrogels that can protect cells. The hydrogels can be modified to slowly degrade, thereby releasing the encapsulated cells into the surrounding tissue where they can repair injured or diseased tissues.  In other cases, the cell therapy is designed to release important factors missing from the body, such as insulin, to treat diabetes, requiring a durable hydrogel coating for the cells that will last for months or years. 

Likarda is working on its own therapies directed at companion animal diabetes and osteoarthritis.  Simultaneously, the company has customers in human and animal health, both in the US and abroad, utilizing Likarda’s hydrogel coatings to better their own cell therapies.  Likarda is the only cell encapsulant company with technology that allows the customization of the hydrogel to match the needs of the cell therapy.

The company is currently raising funds to expand its cell therapy manufacturing operations in Kansas City, MO.

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