TRANSFORM THE FIELD OF IMPLANT, CATHETER AND STENT INTERVENTIONS
Within a short time, antibacterial drug-eluting coatings for implants, catheters, and stents have revolutionised treatments. Representing a new approach to local drug delivery, they are aimed at preventing infections. However, unsustainable and uncontrolled drug release is a challenge, making them ineffective for long-term infection prophylaxis. Our smart antibacterial coatings release drugs in a sustained and prolonged manner for up to several months, efficiently preventing medical device-associated infections and improving the quality of life of patients. We also pioneer a release-on-demand mechanism, whereby drugs are released using external triggers, offering new infection-fighting strategies.

We provide R&D services and seek partnerships with medical device producers to bring our innovative controlled-release antibacterial drug-eluting coatings to the market.

SMART CONTROLLED-RELEASE ANTIBACTERIAL COATINGS

Medical devices contribute to extending the lifetime and improving the quality of life for people around the world. However, they are also responsible for a large portion of healthcare-associated infections. Indwelling and implantable medical devices are particularly vulnerable to pathogen colonisation and bacterial biofilm formation. Despite preventive measures, the infection rate remains high for some devices, especially for urinary catheters. Medical device-associated infections increase hospital stays and risks of mortality for patients, placing a heavy medical and economic burden on the healthcare system.

 

Traditional preventive approaches have mainly focused on antimicrobial coatings of devices based on silver nanoparticles or noble metal alloys or sponges and films and resulted in limited clinical success in preventing medical device-associated infections. The existing antibacterial coatings release drugs passively and too fast, in bursts over a few days, leading to higher drug doses, increased risks of side effects and overall decreased treatment effectiveness. Passive drug release makes them ineffective for long-term infection prophylaxis.

 

Our innovative microcontainer film technology solves this critical problem.

THE WORLD’S FIRST ANTIBACTERIAL COATINGS WITH A CONTROLLED DRUG-RELEASE FUNCTION

We developed next-generation controlled-release drug-eluting antimicrobial coatings. Our microcontainer film technology enables sustained and prolonged drug release for up to several months, a duration sufficient for lasting protection against microbial pathogens. Easily applied to indwelling and implantable medical devices, our antibacterial coatings are highly efficient against bacterial adherence and growth. Long-lasting and cost-effective, they are an excellent tool to prevent biofilm formation.

 

Our coatings are polymer films made with microcontainers which look like air bubbles in Bubble Wrap, only at the micro- and nanometre scale. Instead of using programmed-shell microcapsules, we place antimicrobial drugs inside programmable microcontainers assembled on a polymer film and ensure their release on demand. We control drug release kinetics by changing polymer composition, microcontainer film density and thickness.

Novel controlled-release antibacterial coatings
Next-generation controlled-release antibacterial coatings

MICROCONTAINER FILM

Microcontainer film

MICROCONTAINERS BEFORE AND AFTER OPENING

OUR ANTIBACTERIAL COATINGS ARE INVISIBLE SHIELDS THAT PREVENT INFECTIONS AND BACTERIAL RESISTANCE

Our microcontainer film technology provides a versatile tool for the local delivery of drugs at a sustained and adjustable rate for a prolonged time (weeks, months), and with a required dose. It also enables remote control over drug release – release triggered by ultrasound, near-infrared (NIR) laser light or other stimuli. Triggered drug release enables full control over the treatment regime, allowing drug release when required. Such control of pharmacokinetics is unprecedented.

 

Biocompatible and biodegradable, our antibacterial coatings are versatile and multifunctional, suitable for delivering any drugs, from small to large molecules. In addition to antimicrobial drugs, we can incorporate bone healing and bone repair substances to improve biocompatibility and osseointegration.

 

Given the decrease in antibiotic effectiveness due to superbugs and antibiotic resistance, our multifunctional and personalised antibacterial coatings are a highly effective solution to prevent medical device-associated infections and bacterial resistance, and at a fraction of the costs compared to their treatment. Our technology can greatly improve health outcomes and reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

CONTROLLED DRUG RELEASE FUNCTION

We can programme our microcontainer film to achieve the controlled release of encapsulated drugs on demand, ensuring local, accurate and effective drug dosage.

PROLONGED DRUG RELEASE

Sustained and prolonged drug release for up to several months

TRIGGERED BY ULTRASOUND

Drug release can be triggered by a medical ultrasound

TRIGGERED BY NIR LASER

Drug release can be triggered by near-infrared laser light

TRIGGERED BY PH

Drug release can be triggered by environmental changes, such as pH

ULTRASOUND-TRIGGERED DRUG RELEASE

Whenever needed, drugs can be released from the microcontainer film by directing a low-intensity ultrasound to the body.

Ultrasound-triggered drug release for antibacterial coatings

Video demonstration

Ultrasound-triggered drug release from coatings for urethral catheters

NIR LASER-TRIGGERED DRUG RELEASE

Whenever needed, drugs can be released from the microcontainer film by directing a near-infrared laser light to the body.

Before

After

PH-TRIGGERED DRUG RELEASE

Drug release can be triggered by environmental changes, such as pH.

Before

After

LASER HOLOGRAM MONITORING

We can check the integrity of our smart coatings before their usage and drug release after implantation by applying a laser hologram.

Before usage

After drug release

GREAT FLEXIBILITY AND VERSATILITY

BIOCOMPATIBLE AND BIODEGRADABLE FDA-APPROVED POLYMERS

Our coatings are made from FDA-approved biocompatible and biodegradable synthetic polymers (PLA, PCL, PLGA, etc.) or natural polymers (albumin, chitosan, alginate, agar-agar, gelatin, etc.). The selection of polymers will depend on the properties of drugs and the required release mechanism.

HIGH LOADING CAPACITY

Microcontainers can hold a high volume of drugs (cargo-shell ratio up to 10:1).

LOW-COST SOLUTION

Production costs are mainly determined by the price of polymers and encapsulated active substances, representing a fraction of the final price of the product.

WIDE CHOICE OF ACTIVE SUBSTANCES

Microcontainers can be filled with any drugs regardless of their molecular weight and solubility. Our coatings can hold multiple drugs, making them multifunctional. In addition to antimicrobial drugs, we can incorporate healing or bone-repair substances.

“A LA CARTE” DRUG RELEASE

We offer different controlled-release scenarios, such as drug release triggered by ultrasound, near-infrared red (NIR) laser light, pH or temperature.

WITHSTAND STERILISATION

Our coatings are compatible with gamma/X-ray. Compatibility with other sterilisation methods will depend on the polymers and drugs used for the coatings.

Microcontainer film coatings made of PCL, PLA and PLGA

a) Coatings made of PCL (polycaprolactone) b) Coatings made from PLA (polylactic acid), c) Coatings made from PLGA (Poly-D, L-lactide-co-glycolide) d) Microcontainer film structure (left) and a single microcontainer filled with a substance (methylprednisolone sodium succinate) (right)

3D-image of microcontainer film coatings

Confocal images of PCL, PLA, and PLGA microcontainer film coatings filled with fluorescence (FITC-dextran)

Stents coated with our microcontainer film

a) Scanning electron microscopy images of stent coatings made of PCL, PLA, and PLGA b) Stent coated with our microcontainer film

Flexible shape, size and thickness

Microcontainers’ shape, size and thickness are adjustable to meet the required properties.

References:

 

“Patterned Drug-Eluting Coatings for Tracheal Stents Based on PLA, PLGA, and PCL for the Granulation Formation Reduction: In Vivo Studies” 2021, Pharmaceutics

“Microchamber arrays made of biodegradable polymers for enzymatic release of small hydrophilic cargos” 2020, Soft Matter

“Polylactic acid-based patterned matrixes for site-specific delivery of neuropeptides on-demand: functional NGF effects on human neuronal cells” 2020, Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology

“Stimuli-Responsive Microarray Films for Real-Time Sensing of Surrounding Media, Temperature, and Solution Properties via Diffraction Patterns” 2020, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

“Free-standing microchamber arrays as a biodegradable drug depot system for implant coatings” 2019, European Polymer Journal

“The effect of a controlled release of Epinephrine hydrochloride from PLGA microchamber array: in vivo studies” 2018, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

“Polyelectrolyte multilayer microchamber-arrays for in-situ cargo release: Low frequency vs. medical frequency range ultrasound” 2018, Colloids and Surfaces A

“In-situ NIR-laser mediated bioactive substance delivery to single cell for EGFP expression based on biocompatible microchamber-arrays” 2018, Journal of Controlled Release

“Polylactic acid sealed polyelectrolyte multilayer microchambers for entrapment of salts and small hydrophilic molecules precipitates” 2017, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

“Polylactic acid nano-and microchamber arrays for encapsulation of small hydrophilic molecules featuring drug release via high intensity focused ultrasound” 2017, Nanoscale

“Individually Addressable Patterned Multilayer Microchambers for Site‐Specific Release‐On‐Demand” 2013, Macromolecular rapid communications

 

Overall, our team has over 400 scientific publications on patterned microcontainer films and microencapsulation technologies.

PARTNER WITH US

We seek partnerships with medical device producers to bring our innovative controlled-release antibacterial coatings for medical devices to the market.