One of the excellent projects in the portfolio,
from the biomaterials portfolio, is from Resbio, which is one of our biotechnology research
and development centers. Resbio’s goal is to develop—to use advanced scientific and
engineering processes to develop new biomaterials for biomedical applications. And this process
is predicated on the notion that someone comes to them with a biomaterials need and they
synthesize the candidate polymer from within their vast libraries and then characterize
that polymer based on physical properties and computational processes. And through an
iterative cycle the end result is a new biomaterial that they can then test for further development.
And one of the great examples of this has been the development of a new cardiovascular
stent. So it has all the properties we’ve come to expect from stents and it has some
novel features which are that it is biodegradable by a very controlled degradation process and
it’s also radio-opaque so that we can image it and monitor the degradation process as
it proceeds when the stent is no longer needed. In 2002, Reva Medical came to us with a brand
new stent design but they were also looking for a new polymer, a resorbable polymer that
could replace the commonly used metals. Metal stents have the disadvantage that they
remain in the body of the patient for life and they can cause long term complications.
Stents have completely changed the way we treat coronary vessel disease.
Stents are an amazing breakthrough. Stents are tiny, but they have to be strong
enough to withhold the forces generated by the flow of blood. They also have to deliver
drugs into the vessel and at the end they have to safely resorb into the body of the
patients. All of these requirements make the stent one of the most difficult medical devices
to design. NIH grants allowed us to design polymer libraries
using combinatorial methods that allowed us to home in on a set of promising polymers
for the Reva stent in a process that took us months instead of years.
Reva’s drug eluting stent has already created hundreds of jobs but more importantly, it
will change the way in which we treat coronary vessel disease.
The Reva stent is today in clinical trials and we are very optimistic that it will lead
to improved outcomes for our patients.