Takeda taps nanotech player BioSurfaces for GI disease device R&D

Takeda building
Takeda and BioSurfaces envision a treatment based on the latter's nanofiber technology that could address gastrointestinal strictures and fistulas.

Takeda and BioSurfaces have signed an agreement to develop medical devices for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. The Japanese pharma will contribute its gastroenterology know-how, while the devicemaker will bring its nanomaterial technology to the table.

“We are excited to partner with BioSurfaces, whose pioneering technology aids our strategy of applying novel biomaterials to treat gastrointestinal diseases,” said Vincent Ling, senior director of materials and innovation at Takeda Pharmaceutical Sciences, in a statement. “Our research collaboration will lead to the development of cutting-edge use of biopolymers and device fabrication technology.”

The technology could potentially help prevent strictures—narrowing of the gastrointestinal tract caused by inflammation—and encourage the healing of fistulas, abnormal openings in the GI tract that allow its contents to leak, Ling said.

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BioSurfaces’ tech is based on what it calls electrospinning, which applies a high voltage to a liquid polymer solution to place polymer nanofibers onto an object. The method can be used to deposit the nanofibers onto a medical device or onto a mold to create a standalone material or device.

In addition to enabling the formation of difficult-to-manufacture shapes, Biosurfaces’ process results in materials that are more biocompatible than currently available textile-based implants, which include vascular grafts and hernia-repair mesh.

“Various devices using our technology have been shown to fully integrate with the body’s own tissue in preclinical studies, which is a major differentiator from current woven and knitted textile materials,” said Matthew Phaneuf, president and chief technical officer of BioSurfaces. “In addition to improved healing, our technology is designed to deliver drugs and/or bioactive agents directly to the disease area, putting the treatment right where it should be and not throughout the whole body, thereby reducing possible complications.”

In September last year, Takeda joined forces with Vanderbilt University and Texas Digestive Disease Consultants on a digital program to help patients and physicians manage inflammatory bowel disease. The pilot program involves 100 patients who are tracking their disease using a wearable device.