SBIR Phase I: New Chitin/Alginate Biocomposites by Homogeneous Processing in Ionic Liquids: Disruptive Technology for Wound Care Application

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
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Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
525 Solutions Inc.
720 2nd Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35487-0204
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Gabriela Gurau
 (205) 239-0892
Business Contact
 Gabriela Gurau
Phone: (205) 239-0892
Research Institution
This Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) Phase I project will utilize patent pending technology that allows direct dissolution and reconstitution of natural biopolymers to prepare chitin/alginate composite fibers with embedded additives for use in wound care products. The technology allows for solution blending and spinning of alginate and chitin (both known to speed wound healing, stimulate cell recovery, and be antibacterial) with therapeutic additives to produce composite fibers. This unique technology embeds the additives into the fibers during spinning, leading to slow release of the additives into the wound as the fiber absorbs water and becomes less rigid, and thus allowing the delivery of physiologically relevant doses of a therapeutic agent to the wound over an extended period of time. These fibers will a) possess the inherent properties of the biopolymers that increase wound healing and cell recovery, b) localize delivery of beneficial additives, and c) slowly release the additives over an extended period of time. In Phase I, the goals are to develop an understanding of the relationship between the relative chitin/alginate/additive composition and spinning conditions on mechanical and rheological properties (strength, elasticity, viscosity), water absorption, and additive release rates under simulated conditions as needed for the diabetic skin ulcer markets. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the potential to reduce the duration (by ~40%) and cost (by 20-50%) of wound care treatment by developing a unique composite fiber with additives both on the surface and evenly distributed within the fiber, thereby allowing not only for extended release of the additives, but also less frequent dressing changes and decreased healing time compared to the current spray-coated fibers. The targeted skin ulcer treatment market is predicted to generate revenue of $7.4 billion by 2013, an increase caused by the rising diabetic population. A subset of this market where produced fibers are most applicable, the moist dressing treatment, achieved revenue of $315.4 million in 2008 and is expected to grow to $424.8 million by 2013. There is an urgent need for products that can improve healing rates and novel dressings incorporating innovative fibers that can be applied less frequency, last longer, and contain additives to promote healing, thus reducing patient care cost. The successful development of these specialty fibers for the diabetic ulcer market will provide scientific insight allowing for the customized production of composite fibers for other wound care and health markets.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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