LipoCoat, a biotech spin-off from the University of Twente, the Netherlands, has developed a bio-inspired coating platform for healthcare applications. The LipoCoat® coatings are derived from natural structures and are aimed to reduce biofouling. LipoCoat® coatings are currently being developed for medical devices, e.g. contact lenses and catheters, R&D tools and cell culture systems. The technology is further being developed for cosmetic and therapeutic applications. Our mission is to make healthcare safer and better through the use of LipoCoat® powered devices.
LipoCoat © coatings offer the possibility of being engineered to display and include different proteins and other bio-actives in order to impart a specific bio-activity, rather than being a (bio)inert surface. For example, if you wanted to activate other cells such as stem cells or immune cells, detect certain proteins or to encourage tailored cell adhesion or even capture molecules LipoCoat© coatings can be used. Non-fouling and non-adherent are equally important for stem cell and drug screening applications. The technology enables the design and preparation of bio-active surfaces through supramolecular or chemical modification. Therefore low background, cell-compatible surfaces and, if so desired, spatiotemporal incorporation of biochemical cues are accessible, improving or enabling new types of analysis.
The LipoCoat® coating is just 5 nanometers thick, applied through self-assembly, bio-inspired, with tunable surface properties. The coating platform does not rely on the use of toxic compounds or pharmaceuticals but instead offers a sustainable and passive solution to biofouling. The dynamic and tunable nature of the coating provides a high degree of flexibility to the end-user.
In industry, any wetted surface that is required to be clean of contaminants requires specific surface functionality can be considered for LipoCoat© coatings. These encompass industrial applications within drug manufacturing, food processing and water purification. For example, in the dairy industry, filtration processes are often hampered by fouling and blockages of membranes. Given LipoCoat’s unique properties, proteins in milk cannot adhere to the surface of coated filtration devices preventing clogging and increasing production time. In addition, the production of high-value protein-based products would benefit from the use of LipoCoat during their production in order to minimize losses due to fouling. Equally important is the design of a water purification solution that enables the removal of small organic wastes such drugs and hormones from wastewater. LipoCoat technology could offer a platform solution to tailor membrane properties to enable such functionality.
LipoCoat is highly adaptable to many uses due to its ‘toolbox’ technology whereby distinct properties can be customised. With a range of formulations, its hydrophilicity, stability and lubricity can be adjusted to complement the inherent anti-biofouling and anti-thrombogenic nature of the coating. An additional asset of LipoCoat, due to its dynamic, fluid nature is the ability to self-repair should scratches expose the medical device to the biological environment.
A key advantage of LipoCoat is the fact that the coating is imitating the phospholipid bilayer that surrounds every cell in our body. Hence, it is highly biocompatible and should not elicit an inflammatory response. Even if the coating sheds from the medical device, it should be disposed of by the body as it would do naturally any dead or dying cell and no side-effects should occur.
Corporate investors, manufacturers of medical devices (in particular contact lenses, catheters, implants), corporates active in the healthcare industry and/ or an interest in infection control, corporates active in nanotechnology