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Alachua based AxoGen specializes in products for peripheral nerve damage repair. Edward Bonfiglio received an implant of AxoGen’s Avance® Nerve Graft in 2009 following an injury to his sciatic nerve after coming under fire while serving as a Navy Corpsman in Afghanistan in 2009.

ALACHUA – An Alachua-based company is helping wounded warriors to feel again.

Bioscience company AxoGen develops and markets a full suite of surgical products for surgeons and hospitals to help patients with nerve injuries.

The company, located at 13859 Progress Blvd., specializes in products for peripheral nerve damage.

Peripheral nerves carry signals to and from the brain to allow a person to feel sensations or move muscles. When a peripheral nerve is damaged the signal transfer is reduced or completely stopped.

Peripheral nerves can be injured in many ways including traumatic injuries such as kitchen knife lacerations, falling through plate glass, car accidents and major military injuries. Peripheral nerves can also be damaged by nerve compression like in carpal tunnel syndrome.

AxoGen’s products can be found in trauma centers, hospitals, military facilities and surgical centers throughout the United States and Canada. It is currently expanding its prominence in the European market.

The company had a humble beginning.

It was founded in Gainesville in 2002 by Jamie Grooms and John Engels. They started the company in a room next to the garage of Grooms’ house, working to develop patents and prove the science.

Since then, the company has grown to three product brands – Avance® Nerve Graft, AxoGuard® Nerve Connector and AxoGuard® Nerve Protector – with over 50 full-time employees. The company is publicly traded on the OTCBB exchange and has reported revenue of $5.6 million through Q3 2012.

“AxoGen has developed a strong team of employees fully committed to making a difference in the lives of people with peripheral nerve repair injuries,” said CEO Karen Zaderej. “We come to work each day believing in what we do and doing our very best for the doctors who use our products to help their patients.”

The company relocated to Progress Corporate Park in 2007.

The University of Florida’s Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator was an ideal environment for an early stage company, Zaderej said.

“We found the well-designed lab space, access to shared equipment and proximity to a community of similarly situated companies to be very attractive for AxoGen,” Zaderej said.

AxoGen is involved with the “Thank a Wounded Warrior” program, which provides signed thank you cards for injured U.S. military personnel being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

It also supports entities such as the American Society of Surgery of the Hand with educational grants.

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