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Biostage Inc. is new name for organ implant company HART

HOLLISTON —Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology Inc., which is developing bioengineered organ implants to address life-threatening conditions, is set to disclose Thursday that it is changing its name to Biostage Inc.

The new name refects the company’s focus on organ regeneration and is intended to avoid confusion with its former corporate parent, Harvard Bioscience Inc., which spun out the regenerative technology business in late 2013 to operate as an independent company.

Biostage, which is located next door to Harvard Bioscience, will be changing its stock symbol from HART to BSTG on the Nasdaq exchange, starting Friday.

“We want to have a clear focus,” said Biostage chief executive Jim McGorry, a one-time Genzyme Corp. executive who took the helm at HART last year.

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“We’re trying to apply our technology to diseases of the esophagus, bronchus, and tracea. The company is evolving as technology evolves.”

In an e-mail that will be sent to shareholders, McGorry said the new name combines the company’s bioengineering approach with the “staging” that underlies its Cellframe product, a biocompatible scaffold seeded with the recipient’s stem cells to create implants.

Biostage, which has 19 employees in Holliston, is testing its products in animal studies in a lab in the Worcester County town of Lancaster and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The company’s initial focus is replacement tracheas for patients who need airway transplants. Its product aims to guide the repair of the patient’s own tissue through natural healing.

“Our new corporate brand culminates the transformation and refocusing of our company over the past two years,” McGorry wrote to shareholders.

“We have developed an entirely new technology platform, established a deeply experienced management team, solidified our board and scientific leadership, expanded our base of research partnerships and set clear research, regulatory and commercialization goals.”

Among the new hires is chief medical officer Severio LaFrancesca, an Italian-born doctor who was formerly a cardiovascular surgeon on staff at Houston Methodist Hospital.

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Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.