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Nuevas tecnologías químicas con plasma para modificar las propiedades superficiales de materiales


Oferta Tecnológica
Una spin-off italiana que trabaja en el campo de tecnologías químicas con plasma e industria bioquímica ofrece nuevos tratamientos de revestimiento de plasma para mejorar las características físico-químicas, clínicas y comerciales de diferentes dispositivos. Estos tratamientos confieren propiedades antibacterianas, lubricidad y biocompatibilidad, mejorando la interacción con las células y tejidos biológicos. La tecnología está especialmente indicada para compañías, fabricantes y desarrolladores de dispositivos médicos interesados en aportar nuevas características a sus productos y aumentar el confort y seguridad de los pacientes. La empresa busca socios con el fin de establecer acuerdos de cooperación técnica o investigación para continuar con el desarrollo.


Innovative plasma-chemical technologies used to modify the surface properties of materials
An Italian academic spin-off that operates in the plasma-chemical technologies and biochemical industry provides innovative plasma-coating treatments able to improve physical-chemical, clinical and commercial features of different devices. These treatments are able to attribute antibacterial, lubricity and biocompatibility properties improving the interaction with cells and biological tissues. The company is interested in technical and/or research cooperation agreement to further development.
The academic spin-off from south Italy has several years of experience in the field of plasma coating processes. Aim of the company is to transfer to the market the high level of knowledge, gained through the research activities carried out over the years, and to find new potential applications.
Plasma processes are used to modify the surface properties of biomedical materials in order to get the best compatibility with proteins, cells and biological tissues in vitro or in vivo, in biomaterials application, tissue engineering, biosensors and bio reactors.
Plasma is formed when a gas or vapor is exposed to an electric field which breaks up the molecules into active species (atoms, radicals, ions, electrons). At low pressures the gas temperature remains low, therefore they are called cold plasmas.
The active species of cold plasmas modify the surface properties of materials, without altering their massive ones, using three different types of technologies:
· Thin film deposition (PE-CVD: Plasma Enhached Chemical Vapor Deposition);
· Etching (surface ablation);
· Grafting (of functional groups, crosslinking).
These plasma treatments are able to modify the surface of hydrophobic polymers inserting specific polar chemicals groups which increase cell adhesion to the material, improving the integration of implants with the surrounding tissues. In contrast, PEO (polyethylene oxide)-like coatings, can be deposited with plasma processes in conditions of low in order to obtain anti-adhesive and non-fouling properties towards proteins, cells, and bacteria. These coatings are very useful when deposited on biomedical devices and on sensors which have to remain "clean" in a biological environment, on which it is necessary to prevent the adhesion of biomolecules.
Nano-composites hydrophilic coatings, containing silver and resistant to bacterial contamination on biomedical devices, catheters, prostheses and other surfaces, can be deposited via plasma optimizing the configuration of reactors processes. These coatings release, in aqueous, antibacterial Ag+ ions in a controllable amount over time with the structural characteristics of the coating, in turn optimized during the deposition process.
Plasma processes allows to deposit coatings, characterized by micro/nano structures surface. Since the cells are sensitive to the surface´s morphology of the materials, as well as to the chemical composition, this feature provides one more chance to the plasma-chemical technologies to optimize cell adhesion on the surfaces of biomedical interest.
Work in progress potential applications:
- Urinary catheters with antibacterial and antifouling coating that increases the lubricity and avoids the use of oily ointments and ensures a long-lasting antibacterial effect.
- Intra-ocular lenses (IOL) with the Ag/PEO-like coating, with antibacterial, non-fouling and high lubricity properties.
- Arterial and venous introducers with non-fouling coatings: the coating results in an increase of the lubricity of the device by facilitating the entrance into a vein and, at the same time, reduces the formation of biofilm, discouraging the protein adsorption and cell.
- Filters with antibacterial nano-structured coatings in order to reduce the bacterial load.
This technology is primarily addressed to those companies, producers and developers of medical devices, interested in conferring new features to their products order to make them more comfortable and safe for the patients. The spin off is looking for companies or research centers in the biochemical branch interested in this technology, and is opened to different kind of partnership:
- Research cooperation agreement to jointly identify new potential applications and to develop new methods suitable for different medical devices
- Technical cooperation agreement to promote the efficiency of the treatments provided.

Advantages and Innovations:
Clinical features of different biomedical devices can be improved by using plasma treatments leading to antibacterial properties, lubricity and biocompatibility. The active species of cold plasmas modify the surface properties of materials, without altering their massive ones. The attributed properties can be useful in different kind of biomedical applications.
For example, according to literature between 60 and 80% of patients with catheter have nosocomial infections of the urinary tract. To minimize the incidence of these infections, alternative technological solutions offered by the industrial research have been taken into account. Currently on the market different catheters with antibacterial properties (not attributed with plasma treatments) already exist, although they are very expensive and don´t ensure a long-lasting effect. The plasma treatment offered allows, instead, to attribute the intended properties using low-cost processes. The antibacterial and antifouling coating deposited increases the lubricity and avoids the use of oily ointments, anesthetic and/or gel, considered one of the factors favouring infections due to the inevitable injuries of urethral wall. At the same time the release of silver is constant over time so that ensures a long-lasting antibacterial effect and predetermined, maturing note.
Similar problems are shown by using arterial and venous introducers. The procedures may present complications both during insertion and then during removal of the devices. An innovative PEO-like coating can be deposited with plasma treatments increasing the lubricity of the device by facilitating the entrance into a vein and, at the same time, reducing the formation of biofilm, discouraging the protein adsorption and cell.
Main advantage of this innovative technology is the possibility to considerably improve the clinical features of biomedical devices, making them more comfortable for the patients, with a minimum increase of the costs.
Stage of Development:
Field tested/evaluated
Granted patent or patent application essential
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
The company holds a patent for the production of hydrophilic coatings with antibacterial properties characterized by controlled, uniform and long-lasting release of Ag+ ions in humid environments.
It has been proved "in vitro" that plasma-deposited coatings with similar structure to the polyethylene oxide (PEO-like), discourages the adsorption of proteins and cell adhesion; such coatings, when contain clusters of silver, have a net bactericidal effects too (i.e. against bacteria P. aeruginosa and S. epidermidis). This patent was granted in Italy. The company also applied for an european patent for which is awaiting approval.

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
Type of partner sought:
- SMEs producers and developers of medical devices
- research group interested in the upgrading of this innovative technology

Specific area of activity of the partner:
- Biomedical and medical devices branch

Task to be performed by the partner sought:

- The company should be interested in using this new technology on its products in order to improve the materials´ interaction with proteins, cells and biological tissues, in vitro or in vivo, in biomaterials applications, tissue engineering, biosensors and bio reactors.

- the research group should be interested in identifying new potential applications or methods.


Type and Size of Client:
Industry SME <= 10
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Restrict dissemination to specific countries:
France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, Province Of China, United Kingdom


Technology Keywords:
06005 E-salud
06004 Micro y nanotecnología relacionada con las ciencias biológicas
06001014 Neurología, investigación cerebral