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Takeda, Biosurfaces Partner on Nanofiber Devices

Carbon nanotubes spun into fibers

Carbon nanotubes spun into fibers (CSIRO, Wikimedia Commons)

25 July 2017. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is joining with a developer of medical devices from nanoscale bioactive fibers to design new devices for gastrointestinal, or GI, disorders. Financial details of the collaboration between Tokyo-based Takeda and BioSurfaces Inc. in Ashland, Massachusetts were not disclosed.

Takeda and BioSurfaces plan to design new types of medical devices to detect or treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the esophagus to the rectum, and includes the pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. This part of the anatomy is the site of a number diseases such as heartburn, peptic ulcers, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and cancers affecting these organs.

BioSurfaces develops applications for ultrafine nanoscale fibers derived from biocompatible polymers such as polyester or polyurethane approved for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration. In the company’s process called electrospinning, polymers are dissolved then sent through a high-voltage electric field at room temperature to be sprayed in a viscous microscopic jet. The liquid polymer jet attaches to the nearest grounded surface, where the solvent evaporates leaving a solid layer of polymer nanofibers.

The resulting nanofibers, says BioSurfaces, can be woven into separate devices or sprayed on molds to any size or shape. Drug compounds or biologics can also be mixed with the polymer solutions to deliver drugs, such as in wound healing packs. The company says its electrospun nanofibers outperform conventional textiles, providing structural and biological benefits, such as the ability to be integrated into human tissue. Tests of the materials in early and intermediate-stage clinical trials show no adverse effects with patients.

Vincent Ling, director of materials and innovation at Takeda, says in a joint statement that the partnership is expected to create new uses of biopolymers and technologies for device fabrication. “Application of developed technology,” adds Ling, “has the potential to help prevent strictures and promote healing of fistulas, which are common manifestations of GI diseases.”

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