Biogeneral Inc. in San Diego and Dunn Industries Inc., Manchester, N.H., appear to be tied for making the first commercial bioabsorbable medical tubing. Though the development goes back to 2003, it was only recently exhibited publicly at the MD&M West show in Anaheim, Calif. Biogeneral makes tubes from a half-dozen bioabsorbable polymers and copolymers. They have ODs from 0.004 to 0.240 in. Dunn’s tube (0.070-in. OD, 0.040-in. ID) is a stiff medical-grade PLA. Also, Zeus Inc., Orangeburg, S.C., has made bioabsorbable tubes since 2006 with IDs from 0.005 to 0.080 in. All these tubes are for timed release of medications where a tube is inserted into fatty tissue in the body and is entirely absorbed. Other devices, like stents, are being developed to be implanted and perform a task for a precise time, but not require surgical removal. Bioabsorbable polymers include PLA, PGA (polyglycolic acid), and polycaprolactone formulated for different mechanical properties and rates of absorption. The resins and their copolymers are synthesized by a handful of suppliers including Purac Biochem in the Netherlands (U.S. office in Lincolnshire, Ill.); Boehringer Ingelheim in Germany (U.S. office in Ridgefield, Conn.); Lakeshore Biomaterials in Birmingham, Ala.; and Dureck Corp. in Pelham, Ala. They can cost $1200/lb or more and are typically stored in a freezer.
Purac America Inc
111 Barclay Blvd Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Phone (847) 634-6330 Fax (847) 634-1992