Innovations in Carbon’s Bioabsorbable 3D Printing Elastomers: Leading the Game


“We’ve got materials that are world class, and do some fantastic things…”

by Oliver Johnson

22 December 2023



In October 2022, Carbon announced that its developmental bioabsorbable elastomer platform had demonstrated biocompatibility in vivo (in a living organism), with all samples being classified as non-toxic and exhibiting tunable times for full absorption. The company’s bioabsorbable elastomers have the potential to be used in biomedical applications such as soft tissue repair, wound dressings and nerve conduits. Bioabsorbable polymers are often used in prosthetics due to their ability to be engineered to dissolve at the same rate as new bone growth.

Carbon says, despite there being many examples of bioabsorbable materials that exist in the medical device industry today, there are few examples of 3D printed elastomeric bioabsorbables. According to Carbon, its platform of bioabsorbable resin is capable of 3D printing customised, complex, and high-resolution elastomeric lattice structures. The resins offer tunable degradation, compatibility with gamma sterilisation, and biocompatibility through 180 days of in vivo degradation, making them suitable for soft tissue reconstruction and support applications.

Senior Resin Development Manager at Carbon Gina Policastro told TCT: “Functionalising these materials is not very straightforward, but we’re learning more and more about what people are doing and in the labs in universities about how we can. The first hurdle is making sure you have enough functionalisation sites to get the properties that you want at the end of 3D printing; stability is always a hurdle. These things are meant to degrade in the presence of water, so water and heat can break these materials apart. You need to ensure that you’re working at temperatures that are okay to work at, or the length of time is okay to work at. If printing time is too long, it could have adverse effects depending on how fast or how slow your polymers are meant to degrade. You have a whole toolbox to work with when you’re developing bioabsorbables, and all the different monomers that you start with are meant to degrade at different rates, so that’s a hurdle in itself when developing a bioabsorbable for a particular application.”

Speaking about how structures printed with the materials are used for wound healing, Policastro told TCT: “Wound healing cells will start to infiltrate in, then the cells start to break the material down, and will break it down enzymatically, which is just natural to your body. Then it will also break down in the presence of water, which you obviously have a ton of in your body. As it breaks down, these cells are proliferating and expanding in number and really starting to regrow that tissue layer, whether it be internally or your skin. Essentially just giving the cells a structure to grow on.”

Standing in the way of these types of bioabsorbable materials being used widely in healthcare is FDA approval. Only polymers for specific applications are being approved, and because Carbon’s exploration in this area is a new type of chemistry, and additive manufacturing is not widely used yet in medicine, the approval process is a big hurdle.

Isabelle Palumbo, Business Development Director, MedTech at Carbon spoke to TCT about the next step in getting the materials used in healthcare: “We’ve taken the material as far as we can. Now we are looking for partners who have ideas for applications that would leverage this polymer or this biodegradable material. We are looking at a wide range of applications because there is nothing else like this on the market yet, so our aim is to find a partner to work with and finalise the resin, and to support them as they bring it through the FDA and clinical trials, and then to market.”

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Speaking to TCT about why this development is a milestone, Gary Miller, Head of European Partner and Market Development at Carbon said: “I always say Carbon is ahead of the game. We’ve got materials that are world class, and do some fantastic things, and this another example of that. We’re bringing another material to market that nobody has ever thought about. There’s a lot of great uses, but there’s a lot of catching up to do with what Gina and the rest of the team are doing.”

by Oliver Johnson

22 December 2023


Original source


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