Debiotech S.A. announced today a collaborative alliance with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, in the field of drug-eluting coatings
(February 14, 2006)
This research programme is lead by the Prof.
Heinrich Hofmann from the Laboratory of Powder Technology and is partially funded
by the CTI/KTI. It is built around a new type of structured ceramic coatings invented
in collaboration between the Laboratory of Powder Technology and Debiotech SA.
The objective is to develop this coating for drug eluting stents and other implants.
“If you look at the behaviour of drug eluting
coatings after implantation, ceramics offer unique properties compared to polymers.
Polymers dissolve over time and residues provoke inflammation. Ceramic is stable and
inert when in contact with living tissue. With this coating, we combine an active
release of drug during the first weeks after implantation with the long term stability
of the ceramic. Nano-structured ceramics also offer very interesting mechanical
properties. In fact it reduces strongly the limitations induced by their brittleness”,
says Laurent-Dominique Piveteau, Business Development Manager for Microsystems at
“We are particularly excited by this additional
collaboration with the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, which is today
one of the leading center in Europe for micro and nanotechnologies. Prof. Hofmann
and his team have a great experience in nanomaterials and ceramics, which has brought
us to very innovative methods for drug delivery in implants, in particular for stents
and prostheses. We are looking forward to actively contribute to significant clinical
benefits in a field which is today one of the fastest growing in our industry”, says
Frederic Neftel, CEO and President of Debiotech.
“Nanostructured materials provide novel properties
to biomaterials which are not attainable with bulk material. The challenge in this
project is to process nanosized ceramic powders to reach unique surface structures
which show a controlled porosity over a size range of 2000 between the smallest and
largest pore. Based on results of fundamental research activities in the field of
ordered arrangement of nanosized particles at surfaces, we have established the
knowledge of processing particles smaller than 10 nm at large scale, a key competence
to achieve that goal. The close collaboration with Debiotech as industrial partner
gives an additional incentive for our students working on the project” says Heinrich
Hofmann, Director of the Powder Technology Laboratory.
ABOUT DRUG ELUTING STENTS (DES)
Coronary angioplasty is one of the most common chirurgical procedures nowadays.
Around the world it is performed about two million times every year. Since its first
description in 1977 by a Swiss medical team, it has deeply evolved. Today stents, a
sort of small metal tubes, are inserted during the intervention and act as a scaffold
that will maintain the coronary open and reduce restenosis on the long term. About 70%
of these stents are coated with a drug eluting polymer. This drug, which is released over
a few weeks, prevents the growth of soft tissue as a reaction to the trauma induced by
The drug eluting stent market is the largest market in revenues for a single type of
medical device. With its 4.5 billions US$ worth of sales every year, it is the only
device that has a similar profile to pharmaceutical blockbusters. Of these revenues,
67% come from the US market, 20% from Europe and 13% from the rest of the world.
Debiotech S.A. specializes in the research and development of innovative medical
devices in the field of implantable and external drug delivery systems, using
mechatronics and MEMS, dialysis, diagnostics and imaging devices. ( www.debiotech.com ).
Debiotech has numerous exclusive collaboration agreements with leading companies in
the medical device and pharmaceutical fields.
ABOUT the ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE (EPFL)
The EPFL ( www.epfl.ch ) is one of the leading scientific and technological universities
in Switzerland. It has a long tradition in technological innovation, high-tech business
creation and technology transfer initiatives. In 2006, it will become the leading house
of the new national centre of competences “Materials and technology”. This centre that
brings together laboratories from the ETHZ, the EMPA, the PSI and the CSEM has the mission
of developing new materials and new surface properties for medical applications, energy
storage, nano-systems, sensors and diagnostics.
Avenue de Sevelin, 28
CH-1004 Lausanne, Switzerland