SurModics collaborate to develop drug delivery stents

Surmodics has announced a collaborative partnership with CardioMind
in which SurModics' Encore Drug Delivery Polymer Matrix will be
used in conjunction with CardioMind's low-profile stent system for
the treatment of coronary and peripheral artery disease.

The partnership aims to develop drug-eluting stents, which overcome the problem where traditionally sized stent delivery technologies have difficulty reaching complex lesion applications.

Drug eluting stents have made it feasible for cardiologists to treat increasingly complex lesions in more difficult patient populations such as diabetics. As a result, there is a need for new technology that will allow the navigation and delivery of stents through patient vasculature.

The partnership aims to bring a drug-eluting version of Cardiomind's stent to market as quickly as possible, entering a market with close to 100 per cent penetration in the US, and 50-60 per cent in the UK.

Meanwhile, the market for drug-eluting stents is expected to reach $5.5 billion by the end of this year and $6.3 billion by 2007.

"SurModics is pleased to collaborate with CardioMind in the development of this significant advance in interventional cardiology. Our Encore polymer technology has similar physical, mechanical and drug elution control properties to our Bravo polymer matrix,"​ said Bruce Barclay, president and chief executive officer of SurModics​.

Surmodic's Encore Drug Delivery Polymer Matrix is a second-generation drug delivery alternative to the Bravo matrix that allows delivery of small hydrophobic drugs. The Encore coating shares the physical durability and the drug elution control available from the Bravo matrix, but allows use of a broader range of drugs.

Currently there is a hub of research going on in the stent area that includes companies such as Medtronic, Guidant, Abbott Laboratories and Conor MedSystems. They are developing first-generation products, aiming to show that they can demonstrate improvements over bare metal stents at least as good as those achieved by Cypher and Taxus.

In March this year, Medtronic reported the results of the ENDEAVOR II trial at the ongoing ACC annual meeting, and initial reactions from the show suggest that the data is strong enough to secure approval. The company intends to launch its DES, which delivers the drug ABT-578 in Europe in 2007 and the US in 2008.

Cordis and Boston Scientific are currently working on ways to improve the properties of their existing stents. For example, Boston Scientific won approval for a variation on Taxus called the Taxus Liberte stent.

This has the same drug delivery system and the same drug, but a refined design that should make delivery and deployment of the stent easier, and potentially broaden its use into blood vessels for which its forerunner would not have been suitable.

Medtronic and Guidant are also developing stents made of cobalt chromium, a lighter, thinner material than that used in the current generation.

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