Many millions of orthopedic and trauma implants are performed worldwide each year. This includes, for example, 2 million arthroplasties alone. One of the biggest problems after implant surgery is a persistent or recurring bacterial infection. Bacteria on the implant form a layer called a biofilm, which can lead to repeated, costly surgical procedures beyond the initial implantation.
Primary prevention of infection remains an unmet need. Existing implant coatings used to prevent infections (e.g. silver) have limited efficacy or considerable toxicity and are expensive.
Of all orthopedic implants, 1-5% develop infections. For certain indications, such as trauma, this can be manyfold higher. There are additional opportunities to be explored beyond the orthopedics market, with cardiovascular implants being the second largest implant market.
ImplantGuard is developing a process to coat metal and polymer implants with safe and effective antimicrobials in a versatile and inexpensive manner using plasma nitriding. The coating process has been shown to work with various antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) as well as with other antimicrobial substances (such as chlorhexadine).
This technology is TRL3. It has been tested primarily ex vivo on metal (Titanium, Steel, Cobalt-Chromium) and polymer surfaces for functionality, durability and biocompatibility. The next steps will involve an in vivo study beyond the pilot dog study performed so far.
There are two patents protecting the nitriding technology for use on metal and polymer surfaces as well as on implants specifically.
Meet the team
Taco van der Feltz
Taco joined NLC in 2015 and is a highly international and networked entrepreneur trained as Medical Doctor and Medical Biologist. He is a visionary strategist conversant within and across disciplines. As Venture Partner, Taco focuses on building innovative companies and strengthening NLC’s abilities to bring innovations to healthcare.