By Peter Thomsen, CEO, Biomodics (http://www.biomodics.com/index.php/en/)
Biomodics produce polymers based on CO2, a host polymer, and a guest polymer introduced into the host polymer. This allows for formation of functional hydrogels. The silicone rubber swell in a pressurized chamber with CO2 to create a true mix of the two materials at the molecular level. The materials are however not covalently bound. This approach conserve all the properties of the silicon rubber while gaining all the benefits from the hydrogel (antifouling, semipermeable membrane etc.)
One of the major challenges, Biomodics are out to defeat is hospital-acquired infections by catheters. Catheters are associated with app. 40% of hospital-acquired infections and after 2 weeks, most patients are estimated to have an infection.
Many hospital devices consist of silicone rubber, but as a soft material, most anti-fouling strategies do not apply. Introduction of hydrogels in to the silicone makes the material more robust than just applying a coating. Scratching the material will not affect the hydrogel-properties, as the hydrogel is in the entire material. An important achieved property of this method is the possibility to do highly controlled drug release over a very long period as the hydrogel can store large amount of drugs. It is even possible to design a drug-delivering catheter where the doctor can inject the drug most relevant for the patient/situation.
For now, the focus is on catheters but these properties could prove very useful in other contexts; wound management, Tissue engineering, central venous catheters, or oral drug delivery. Another suitable field is contact lenses, where treatment for i.e. allergies or glaucoma directly from the contact lenses could be very beneficial. Contact lenses are today silicon/hydrogels, but they are not yet sophisticated enough to do drug delivery.