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Nanoscale surface-treatment technology for medical implants combats infections

Article-Nanoscale surface-treatment technology for medical implants combats infections

Tyber Medical LLC, a private-label original equipment manufacturer of spine and orthopedic implants headquartered in Morristown, NJ, has acquired an exclusive licensing agreement for an antimicrobial surface coating technology that will be used in select orthopedic applications. The agreement between Tyber Medical and an unnamed prestigious biomaterial research institution also includes refining the manufacturing process, as well as ongoing funding for additional scientific studies.

The BioTy antimicrobial surface coating technology exhibits unique surface characteristics on a nanoscale that have the potential to significantly reduce hospital-associated infections, says the company.

Initial research shows [the coating's] great strength characteristics, Eric Dickson, Director of Business Development, told PlasticsToday, and the scientific team [that developed it] is well known in the nanotechnology field, he added. "The regulatory pathway leads for a quick market entry, plus we can enhance the technology to give it other features such as osteo-integration as well as antimicrobial properties."

The BioTy process can be applied to a variety of implant materials, including titanium, stainless steel and cobalt chrome. "The most recent research [related to polymers] we have completed is for polyether ether ketone (PEEK), which shows outstanding integration and antimicrobial properties," said Dickson. "In theory the technology could be widely applicable to any thermoplastic polymer. We are still researching the full range of substrate materials, but the initial focus is on PEEK."

"Exciting new research suggests that implant nanoscale features alone, without using pharmaceutical agents, can inhibit bacteria and virus functions to improve medical device performance," said Thomas J. Webster, PhD, Art Zafiropoulo Chair and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, and a new Advisory Board Member at Tyber Medical. "I'm also very pleased to be working with Tyber Medical to further develop the BioTy technology for use on a wide range of surgical implants."

"We see three significant benefits resulting from our new BioTy technology," said Jeff Tyber, founder and President of the company. "Initially, it may enable us to be first to market with implants that exhibit exceptional infection control properties. Second, by tailoring implant surface characteristics, we can optimize certain qualities of the implant, such as boney ingrowth and attachment, to meet the needs of specific clinical applications. Lastly, the potential inherent antimicrobial properties of the BioTy process may negate the need and expense of pharmaceutical agents. As a result, cost effective infection control may be within our reach."

Tyber Medical expects to see the first application of this technology reach the market in early 2016.

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