The aim of the SME-driven COATIM consortium is to tackle the increasing problem of infections due to biofilms, groups of microorganisms that stick together on different surfaces within the human body and escape conventional antibiotic treatment. Biofilms are typically found on medical devices like implants. Until now, biocidal implant coatings have been developed that are based on either the release of silver ions, which are toxic upon accumulation, or on conventional antibiotics that have poor activity against microorganisms in biofilms. Therefore, COATIM aims to develop the next generation of implant coatings containing novel proprietary antibiofilm molecules, either peptides or small molecules, with inhibitory activity against microbial biofilms.
COATIM contributes to a dynamic and competitive knowledge based economy, sustainable development, and serves the needs of the SME-intensive medical technology products market in Europe.
The most recent generation of implants with open porosity enable fast osseointegration, but also present an increased risk of microbial biofilm-associated infection. Biofilm-associated infections are responsible for 15-25% of implant failure, and necessitate burdensome and costly revision surgery. The latter is estimated to represent a supplementary medical cost of €800m/year in Europe without taking into account the pain and distress of the patients, indicating that any significant reduction of this type of implant failure is highly recommended.
COATIM aims to develop the next generation of implant coatings containing novel potent proprietary antibiofilm molecules (ABMs) with inhibitory activity against microbial biofilms. In COATIM, these ABMs are grafted or deposited on small titanium implant substrates, as a model for dental and orthopaedic implants. Next, the ABM coated implants are evaluated for in vitro and in vivo activity in resisting microbial infection without compromising osseointegration. Finally, the ABM coating is applied on complex orthopaedic and dental implants, allowing the exploitation of the results by industry. In parallel, the antibiofilm mode of action of the ABMs is unraveled.
COATIM will generate the next generation of orthopaedic and dental implant coatings, via covalent linkage of proprietary antibiofilm molecules. This technology will result in a reduction of biofilm-associated infections on implants.
In a first instance, titanium disks and cylinders will be used as model for the orthopaedic and dental implants, respectively. In the last phase of the project, a feasibility study will be conducted. The aim is to apply the developed and assessed ABM coating technologies on commercially used complex shaped dental and orthopaedic implants and to prepare the exploitation of the results of this research project towards industrial implementation through a planning and cost calculation for an industrial process.