This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to develop high strength biodegradable polymers with mechanical properties sufficient to function as fracture fixation devices in high load bearing applications. The majority of fractures today are fixed with metallic devices but to prevent bone atrophy, these may require a second surgery to remove the device after bone healing has occurred. By using resorbing biodegradable devices, the need for the second surgical procedure is eliminated. At this time, commercially available biodegradable devices do not have sufficient mechanical strength for high load bearing applications. Prior work has shown that a new class of synthetic, degradable polymers derived from tyrosine, may be useful in bone repair. The objective of this Phase I project is to structurally modify these biomaterials and demonstrate that the modified structures posses an optimal combination of mechanical properties and degradation rate.
The commercial application of this project is in the area of orthopedics.