How did the idea to set up a company producing biodegradable polymeric materials arise?
BioMatPol is a spin-off company of Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences and Scientific-Technology Park Gliwice. For many years, the scientists from the Centre have conducted researches on development of innovative and functional biodegradable materials. These could be used in manufacturing of medical devices, which when implemented, will be absorbed in the body and there will be no need to perform another surgery. On the other hand, they can be also used for the production of biodegradable pack and for sustained release of plant protection products. The idea for production of such type of materials has arisen mostly as a result of great interest both from the scientific and medical community. There was a need for developing methods for medical implants production – coronary stents and orthopedic devices – which will distinguish themselves from other commercially available materials. It should be stated, that so far polymeric materials that have been applied for biomedical purposes are obtained using tin compounds. Despite the fact that tin catalysts are used in trace amounts, they remain toxic for human organism and are especially dangerous for children. Unfortunately, toxic compounds of tin cannot be completely removed from the polymeric material. The ions of this element can generate free radicals capable of damaging cellular DNA and inducing improper functioning of sensitive tissues like neural tissue. The scientists from the Centre have developed several technologies for manufacturing of polymeric materials without usage of tin compounds. For this purpose, zirconium compounds that are approved by FDA, Food and Drug Administration, are used instead. They express about 10 times lower toxicity than the compounds described previously. In conclusion, they appear to be more neutral for humans and, therefore, safer. Considering biomedical products, it is a great advantage.
How was the company established?
The company was established as a result of research commercialization. This has been initiated by the Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials Polish Academy of Sciences and the Scientific and Technological Park of Gliwice. Both scientific and business environments merged together to form a micro-enterprise, which aims for meeting the demands of the market.
What type of material are used in your products?
For the production of our products we use monomers commonly available on the biomaterials market. These are lactide, glycolide and trimethylene carbonate monomers. We chose them because as the result of polymerization reaction materials of proven biocompatibility are formed, what means that they are not toxic to the body. Their additional advantages are ease of subsequent processing and low price.
Do you patent your materials or are you using only the license?
The BioMatPol received exclusive licenses to a number of inventions of the Centre and for this reason we do not need to apply for patents. We may modify these inventions and technology. I would like to point out that we do not produce final products but intermediates. During later stages of the work the applications range is very wide – on the one hand our products are directed to research institutions and manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals and, on the other hand, products are adressed to manufacturers of biodegradable packaging.
What are the elements of novelty in your products?
First of all, our materials are biodegradable and bioresorbable. This means that in the body or in composting conditions they are degraded and decomposed into non-toxic. From the point of view of biomedical applications, is important that we do not use tin compounds and hence – toxic initiator are eliminated. Another important feature is that by controlling optimizing various parameters on the stage of the synthesis of a material, we manage to get products with specific physico-chemical characteristics adequate to individual needs. If we want the polymer to play role of matrice for healing agent in the body, we have the opportunity to design a material in such a way that simultinously with degradation of the polymer, the healing agent will be released for a specific and controlled time. Possibility of creating different forms of matrices for drugs can be beneficial e.g. in the treatment of some mental illnesses. In addition, in the Center materials expressing the shape memory have been developed. They are also polymers of lactide, glycolide and trimethylene carbonate and the BioMatPol is their only manufacturer. What is very important – these materials exhibit shape memory at the temperature of human body. They can be, therefore, used for production of self-locking staples as well as coronary and urinary stents. Through narrow cut they are implemented in a compressed form to the body and at the body temperature they reach their proper shape which acts as a therapeutic. This is applied even in the case of treatment of restenosis. From these polymers one can also produce various types of three-dimensional scaffolds that are used in cell culturing to stimulate the regeneration of bone tissue or nerve repair. But the BioMatPol materials can not only to be used in development of biomedical devices. There are investigations in which some of BioMatPol products are involved in obtaining degradable packagins, baby-diapers or hygienical pads. The point is to reduce the scale of using non-degradable materials which are stored on the garbage dumps for years.
What is the market demand for your materials?
Many research units around the world are dealing with this subject. We observe the interest in the European market, but our products are also popular in the North America or in Asia. Products made from our materials are exported there.
Do you have a lot of competition on Polish and European markets?
Biomaterials market is a worldwide market. In fact, in almost every country you can find smaller or larger companies involved in their production. Fortunately, these materials are characterized by a great variety of forms and properties. These cause that any biomaterial company can find a niche for itself.
What are your plans for the next years of company activity?
At the moment the BioMatPol produces materials that are intended mostly for research and development but we would like to increase the scale of production and produce materials out of our current offer. One of the direction will be the hydrogels for artificial skin manufacturing and cel encapsulation for diabetis treatment.
Ph.D. Eng. Katarzyna Gębarowska finished her PhD studies on chemistry department of Jagiellonian University. CEO in BioMatPol and research scientist in the Centre of Polymer and Carbon Material Polish Academy of Sciences. Professional interests concern microstructural analysis and formulation of various absorbable polymeric systems. Co-author of several publications on polyestercarbonates use in for biomedical purposes. Leisure time spends reading or hiking with family.
Fot. 1: L-lactide-co-glycolide 85/15
Fot. 2: L-lactide-co-trimethylene carbonate 85/15
2016-04-03 04:59:07 +0200
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