Last week, Zimmer Biomet organized a symposium on infections and specifically the issues of biofilm on orthopedic implants at the European Bone and Joint Infection Society (EBJIS) conference in Basel, Switzerland. Some 250 participants attended the EBJIS, representing a mix of clinicians, practitioners, researchers, and companies from across the globe involved in the treatment of bone and joint infections.
Bactiguard and global orthopedic company Zimmer Biomet have been partners since early 2019 and are working together on both orthopedic trauma implants (ZNN Bactiguard) and, since 2022, on a development project related to implants for joint reconstruction, sports medicine, craniomaxillofacial and thoracic applications.
A primary challenge when using these orthopedic medical devices is biofilm. Biofilm is formed when bacteria and other microbes adhere to the surface of the devices making the bacteria more resistant to antibiotics and the patient’s own immune system. When the biofilm is established, the resulting infection is very hard to treat. Bactiguard’s technology is based on an ultra-thin noble metal coating which, when in contact with fluids, creates a galvanic effect resulting in fewer microbes adhering to the medical device surface. This in turn reduces the risk of biofilm formation.
The discussions at EBJIS, both on stage and in the conversations between participants, made it apparent that developing and implementing products and strategies to prevent implant related infections are potentially the biggest unmet healthcare need within the field of orthopedic implantology. Introducing preventive technologies, such as Bactiguard’s advanced coating, holds the promise of not only preserving lives but also enhancing the overall quality of life for a substantial population of implant patients.
“When looking into the literature, there is a huge number of coatings but very few are available to the surgeon or commercially accessible, largely due to regulatory challenges. As far as we are aware, this is the only coating that has true clinical efficacy data thanks to the large number of catheters used and the high infection rates with catheter related infections”, stated Dr Imran Khan, Senior Research Director at Zimmer Biomet.
Björn Elgh, Director of Product Development, Clinical Trial & Research at Bactiguard, comments from the EBJIS in Basel: “The symposium raised awareness around the dangers of biofilm even further and it was evident how efficient our coating technology is. Getting such strong endorsement from Zimmer Biomet’s clinical experts is truly rewarding. Together, we are a powerful force in preventing orthopedic related healthcare-associated infections.”
The article published during the conference, by Dr Lucia PontirolI (PhD), Dr Saurabh Lal (PhD), and Dr Imran Khan (PhD), all part of Zimmer Biomet’s Global Anti-Infective Technologies Research Team, provides a comprehensive explanation of Bactiguard’s coating technology and briefly summarize the clinical data across different medical devices. The article is accessible here.
In addition, the poster “Evaluation of the Mechanism of Action of a Noble Metal Coating Used for Reducing Microbial Adhesion in Orthopedic Devices” with more details on the functionality and efficacy of Bactiguard’s was published. The poster is accessible here.