A high-tenacity polyethylene (PET) fiber developed by RxFiber LLC (Windsor, CA) is specifically designed to accommodate demand for thin, strong fibers for small device delivery systems in transcatheter applications. Described as the first commercially available fiber of its kind, RxFibron HT is twice as strong as regular PET. This property allows device manufacturers to use a smaller denier yarn than they would ordinarily source, allowing them to reduce device size without sacrificing strength or flexibility.
"Physicians are looking for smaller and smaller systems to deliver devices in transcatheter applications inside narrow blood vessels," says Martin W. King, PhD, professor of biotextile technology at North Carolina State University. King and a peer are collaborating with RxFiber and conducting research comparing the material with PET and ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene. They will present their findings in Denver at the annual meeting of the Society of Biomaterials in the spring.
The startup company describes itself as the first manufacturer dedicated solely to engineering medical-grade fibers for the medical technology industry. It is a finalist in the engineering plastics category of the Golden Mousetrap Awards. The winners will be announced during a ceremony at the Marriott Anaheim Ballroom on Feb. 11 in Anaheim, CA.
Years ago, textile manufacturers in Central America made most of the fibers used in implantable medical devices, Robert Torgerson, founder and president of RxFiber, told the North Bay Business Journal, which published a profile of the company. But they did not have traceable quality systems that met U.S. medtech manufacturer standards. When the firms went out of business, they left a supplier gap for the industry, he told the newspaper. Companies came along to fill that gap, and materials evolved, but they lacked the flexibility and tensile strength needed by low profile devices. RxFiber has stepped up to meet that challenge with a single-minded focus.
RxFiber supplies a range of multi- and monofilament fibers in small or large quantities to medical device manufacturers. Absorbable versions are available. The company is certified to ISO 13485, the international quality standard for medical manufacturing.