PC is short for phosphorylcholine, the chemical name of a polar head group found in many phospholipids, particularly those that form the bi-layers that make up cell membranes. PC is zwitterionic; that is it contains both positive and negative charges but is overall electrochemically neutral within a wide pH range. The high polarity of the PC group causes water to be tightly bound by materials containing PC and it is principally this property which results in biocompatibility.
PC Technology is a proprietary platform of methacrylate polymers incorporating phosphorylcholine. These biomimetic materials build upon the body’s own chemistry but are totally synthetic, allowing precise control over the purity profile. They can provide an elegant solution to biocompatibility challenges for medical devices and can be tailored to specific application needs. For example, PC materials are available as coatings, bulk materials, gels and solutions and properties such as water content, elasticity and hardness can easily be varied. Several of these systems have been successfully used to enable the localised delivery of drugs.
PC has been successfully incorporated into the manufacture of a large number of innovative medical devices sold around the world. Examples of companies using PC to improve their products include:
- CooperVision in its range of Proclear® contact lens products
- Abbott on its Trimaxx® coronary stents
- Abbott and Medtronic on drug eluting coronary stents (Dexamet® and Endeavor® respectively)
- Sorin, Dideco, Cobe on cardiopulmonary bypass systems
- Mediglobe on urological devices
- Gyrus on tympanostomy tubes
Currently, the main focus for Vertellus Biomaterials lies in the medical device and drug delivery area and Vertellus continues to invest in novel materials for new applications. However we are also exploring other, non-healthcare areas where the anti-fouling and surfactant properties of PC can bring benefits. We are always interested in discussing potential
with partners who recognise the value of PC and would like to investigate its use in new applications.