Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the most costly and second most common hospital-acquired infection (HAI), accounting for over 86% of hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP). Some 300,000 HAP patients are treated annually in the U.S., at an estimated annual hospital cost of more than $1.5 billion. The current paradigm for preventing VAP has been to implement patient care bundle practices and to use antimicrobial agents that reduce bacterial colonization on the tube surfaces. However, these strategies have not demonstrated consistent efficacy or widespread adoption. A major concern is the use of antimicrobial agents that lead to resistance patterns that make infections more difficult to treat. Under this multi-phase SBIR project, Sharklet Technologies therefore proposes to advance the state-of-the-art in this key area by developing, validating, and commercializing a novel endotracheal tube (ETT) design that is capable of sustained biofilm inhibition and that does not rely on traditional antibiotic coatings. This novel technology is based upon the proven Sharket-patterned surface that has been developed successfully under previous SBIR funding. Phase I studies met and exceeded research goals to optimize the Sharklet pattern and to obtain at least 50% reduction (p<0.05) of bacterial biofilm coverage of P. aeruginosa and MRSA in conditions that exacerbated biofilm growth such as mucin-rich media and presence of sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics. The overall goal of this multi-phase SBIR project is to further develop, validate, and commercialize the use of the biomimetic Sharklet microscopic pattern to inhibit bacterial biofilm formation on the ETT surfaces without the use of antimicrobial agents.
The Specific Aims for Phase II are to 1) manufacture prototypes of the Sharklet micro-pattern for completion of regulatory verification and validation testing;2) carry out an FDA-recognized in vitro ventilator-endotracheal- lung model to test Sharklet micro-patterned ETT prototypes for inhibition of colonization and biofilm formation with clinical isolates of the most common VAP causative pathogens;3) demonstrate reduced microbial colonization, biofilm formation, and lumen occlusion in a sheep model;and 4) carry out a clinical pilot study in the Massachusetts General Hospital's Surgical ICU to demonstrate reduced ETT colonization, biofilm formation and lumen occlusion. We will also submit a 510(k) with all of the Phase II data to obtain a device-level claim. The Phase II project will be carried out by the expert interdisciplinary R&D team that completed the Phase I work and that has completed successful Phase I and Phase II SBIR projects for NIH previously. Post-Phase II commercialization will involve scaled-up manufacturing methods for ETTs with Sharklet-patterned inner, outer, and cuff surfaces. The Phase II SBIR data will be essential in attracting and fully engaging industry partners with whom we are already discussing this technology (see letters).

Public Health Relevance

Every patient who receives mechanical ventilation via an endotracheal tube (ETT) is at risk for developing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)-the second most common hospital-acquired infection, which has a high mortality rate and results in medical costs of some $1.5 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Given that an effective solution to this problem will require ETT device alterations, Sharklet Technologies, Inc., proposes to pursue the needed advance in the state-of-the-art by incorporating its Sharklet microscopic pattern onto the ETT surfaces to inhibit biofilm formation that leads to infection and to ultimately reduce the incidence of VAP. This multi-phase SBIR research effort is focused on developing/commercializing a Sharklet- patterned ETT that significantly augments current ETT designs with the goal of increasing patient welfare and safety while greatly reducing medical costs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CVRS-H (11))
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Harabin, Andrea L
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Sharklet Technologies, Inc.
United States
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Mann, Ethan E; Magin, Chelsea M; Mettetal, M Ryan et al. (2016) Micropatterned Endotracheal Tubes Reduce Secretion-Related Lumen Occlusion. Ann Biomed Eng 44:3645-3654