Labcoat: Less is More in Next Generation Drug-Eluting Stents
Labcoat is employing inkjet printing-type technology to do what big companies haven't: create a new method for creating safer and more effective drug-eluting stents using less drug and polymer.
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The year 2006 may best be remembered for the handful of high-profile companies that struggled, but for all of the challenges that a few medical device companies faced individually, it's hard not to see 2006 as anything other than a robust year for the industry as a whole. It was also a year of impressive rebounds for many other device companies that had faced tough times.
While the greater efficacy of drug-eluting stents (DES) compared to bare-metal stents is widely accepted, over the past year, data has continued to build showing that first-generation DES also have a higher late-stage in-stent thrombosis risk, a complication that can cause death 30% of the time, according to some estimates. The findings of these studies had some physicians at this year's World Congress of Cardiology calling for "an immediate halt to DES overuse." However, most conceded that additional randomized trials will be needed to fully understand the potential risks associated with these devices.
Drug-eluting stents (DES), now approved in the US, will be the first blockbuster combination drug/device product to hit the market. First generation DES products use a stent design that remains basically unchanged from bare metal stents, bascially adding thin layers of drug and polymer coatings. Conor Medsystems is developing a stent that is specifically designed as a drug delivery vehicle, while still embodying the attributes required of a standard stent. Conor's stent is based on work done by an engineer with no expereince in the medical products industry, based on technology developed in other areas, bringing a fresh look to the future of combining drugs and stents that may extend to therapeutic applications beyond treating only cardiovascular disease.