Bioresorbables Look for New Uses

BIoresorbable technology has been around for 40 years, but the future of the industry is going further than sutures.

Combining the polyesters in bioresobables with other materials creates potential for these devices in a variety of uses. Manipulating the materials in these devices can help make them simulate bone for osteoconductive materials to simulate the formation of new bone or combining the devices with drug-releasing capabilities, such as antibacterial and inflammation.

“This can possibly compete with metals,” said Mart Eenink, director of global sales for Purac Biomaterials in the Netherlands, during a panel discussion at MDM West.

The composition of fibers and polymers can be played with in order to create the materials necessary for certain products. Scientists will be able to manipulate the materials to have quicker resorption times, stronger uses, or greater flexibility.

“We can provide a variety of materials that can be selected by surgeons to best fit the patient,” Dennis Jamiolkowski, research fellow for Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson, said, adding that not all patients will be react the same way to certain devices.

This may present a problem for the future in terms of FDA regulation. Jamiolkowski said that FDA approves a device for a particular application, not necessarily the device itself. Also, the materials need to be sturdy enough so that they can perform the same function on the last day of the shelf life as it did on the first. The products should also be able to go through sterilization and be able to maintain its shape so that it can be implanted.

Derek Mortisen, senior scientist for Abbott Laboratories, said that another problem that bioresorbable devices may face is that there will be a premium price put on bioresorbables. The company, which is currently pushing through with its bioresorbable scaffold in U.S. clinical trials, said that they are already having difficulty getting approved in America with FDA, even though they are already selling it in Europe. However, Abbott feels like it has developed a quality product.

“We think it will pay off in the long term,” he said. “You’re paying a premium up front, but you’ll reap the gains down the road.”

Eenink emphasized that the material the bioresorbable devices are only one piece of the puzzle, but that good design, processing, and application are also required in order to have a product that will work.

Reina V. Slutske is the assistant editor for MD+DI.