SPRIND funds project on "Smart Materials made from Biopolymers"

Smart materials offer potential applications in cosmetics and medical technology

SPRIND has assigned SolyPlus GmbH to validate its technology project "Smart Materials from Biopolymers". These intelligent materials are controllable materials with exceptional mechanical, chemical or pharmacological properties. These materials are playing an increasingly important role in the development of new versatile, efficient products.

SolyPlus' technology makes it possible to transform important biopolymers such as hyaluronic acid or chitosan into smart materials that serve as starting materials for new, innovative products, thus enabling their industrial production. Corresponding products consist of pure hyaluronic acid, for example. Conceivable products include micro-particles and wound dressings that do not have to be removed again, microneedles, for example for painless and rapid vaccination or intradermal treatment, or orthopedic implants that dissolve in the body in a controlled manner and thus do not require a second operation for removal.

Hyaluronic acid as well as chitosan are naturally occurring macromolecules with potential applications in cosmetics, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. Hyaluronic acid, for example, is non-toxic, non-immunogenic, non-allergenic and completely degradable in human tissue, which makes it harmless and unlikely to cause any undesirable side effects. Nevertheless, hyaluronic acid contents in common skin care cosmetic products hardly exceed 1.5 percent, because when dissolved in water, a highly viscous mass is formed from just one to two percent, which cannot be further processed industrially. This means that the potential applications fall far short of the substance-related potential.

SolyPlus now succeeds in overcoming these limitations and transforming macromolecules into a new "aggregate state."

Like wood or plastics, the "smart materials" can be subjected to all standard industrially available production processes. The technology is simple: The biopolymer powder is moistened and mechanically treated. The resulting "dough" can then be dried and ground into hyaluronic acid microparticles, rolled into films or foils for hyaluronic acid wound dressings, and much more. The company from Haselund, in North Friesland near Husum, has already produced and patented corresponding prototypes.

In accordance with SPRIND's validation mandate, SolyPlus will characterize the technology physicochemically by the end of 2022, including the aforementioned prototypes, with regard to their rheological properties, stability and sterilizability, and prepare them for further preclinical and clinical development. If the results are positive, it will then be examined how and by what means these products can be further developed as medical devices until they are ready for the market.

More about SolyPlus: www.solyplus.com