Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Hadassah U spinout introducing anti-bacterial implant technology

By David Schwartz
Published: October 20th, 2015

A wide variety of implants have become commonplace in both surgical and dental practice – teeth, knee joints, back screws, breast implants, stents, and many other devices are placed in the body. All of these implants carry with them the potential for infection.

An Israeli biotech start-up out of Hadassah University aims to change that. The company, called NanoLock, has developed technology that kills bacteria inside an implant before it can cause an infection.

“Our system allows for the manufacture of polymer plastics that have anti-microbial properties,” said Dr. Ervin Weiss, CEO of the company. “We can nearly eliminate bacteria that get into an implant, so that if any do get through, the body’s immune system can easily defeat it.”

Weiss, currently dean of the Tel Aviv University School of Dentistry, worked as head of prosthodontics in Hadassah Dental School for 14 years, where he developed the technology. The start-up is licensing it from Hadasit, the university’s tech transfer company.

Bacteria from implants are responsible for “catastrophic failure” — meaning that the entire implant has to be removed and replaced — 3% to 5% of the time. In many other instances, infections occur but are treatable with antibiotics or other medical methods but still cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for patients, as well as expense.

With NanoLock those infections will not occur, Weiss maintains. “There are implants that contain material to mitigate infections, but these are subject to leaching, with the chemicals or antibiotics eventually getting into the body as the polymer material weakens. That’s not a healthy situation, but because we don’t use chemicals, antibiotics, or other additives there is nothing to leach.”

NanoLock technology results in implants that contain specially designed components that mechanically kill bacteria, says Weiss. “As bacteria moves through the implant it comes across our material, which basically punches a hole in the middle of a bacterium, rendering it impotent. The nano-sized additive particles are spread throughout the implant, so the chances of a bacterium getting through their ‘trap’ is very low.”

In addition, the system ensures that the now-dead bacteria — and the additive material itself — does not leach out of the implant. “We have patents on both the method to destroy bacteria, and the anti-leaching properties of the system,” Weiss reports. “It’s a powerful combination that can be used in a wide variety of fields, including plastic surgery, medical devices, and even food packaging. In all those areas there is a risk of infection or leaching of anti-microbial agents, or the microbes themselves. With our system that risk is greatly reduced, if not eliminated altogether.”

NanoLock’s first product will be for the dental industry – “we have a proof of concept contract with one of the world’s biggest dental surgery companies” — and although only two months old, the company has already garnered a great deal of interest from investors, says Weiss.

Source: The Times of Israel

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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