Functional Coatings for Medical Devices

Bayer MaterialScience will discuss how the use of lubricious coatings can enhance catheter functionality.

Paul Nowatzki, business development manager, medical coatings, at Bayer MaterialScience LLC (Pittsburgh; www.bayermaterialscience.com), will present “Functional Coatings for Medical Devices” on Wednesday, February 9. The session will take place at 2:30 p.m. at Innovation Briefs Theater 2.

MPMN: What kinds of functional coatings will you be discussing in your presentation?

Nowatzki: The Baymedix range includes slippery-when-wet (lubricious), hydrophilic/hemocompatible, and drug-eluting coatings. The common thread is strength and durability, which enable us to address other medical coatings applications as well.

MPMN: How can these functional coatings improve device performance?

Nowatzki: Lubricious coatings typically make catheters easier to use, give physicians better access, and may reduce tissue trauma to patients. Hemocompatible coatings can, for example, improve handling of blood in devices outside the body. New drug-eluting coatings target applications beyond stents: Antibiotic coatings on implantable devices are one area of interest.
 
MPMN: What functional coating exists that you don’t think medical device OEMs are fully taking advantage of to improve device performance? Why?

Nowatzki: Our Baymedix CL 100 lubricious surface-modification technology can be applied to the inner lumens of catheters and irregularly shaped devices that are otherwise hard to coat. OEMs sometimes assume that coatings can’t be applied to the inner diameter of their devices, thinking they are limited to dry-lubricious
technologies like fluoropolymers or polyolefins, which often give less friction reduction.

MPMN: What information might surprise engineers in terms of functional coatings for medical devices?

Nowatzki: Perhaps surprising is that a coating can be very lubricious yet quite strong, where, for instance, you can’t scrape the coating off with your fingernail, even when wet. Another surprise might be that a coating can give engineers more design freedom. Where an uncoated device gets stuck, a coated one might get through. At the same time that they reduce force against tissue, coatings reduce force on the device, which has implications for design.

MPMN: What do you think the next generation of functional medical device coatings will entail?

Nowatzki: One current driver for lubricious coatings is to understand and minimize so-called “particulation,” the shedding of particles into the bloodstream during use of a coated device like a catheter. Increased regulatory scrutiny of particulation may steer device designers toward higher-performance coatings with greater durability. New lubricious coatings may specifically address this issue. In implantable medical devices, there’s a demand for new and improved biodegradable coatings, especially those with novel physical or release properties.