SBIR Phase I: Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Microfilm Wound Dressings

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Imbed Biosciences, Inc.
Fitchburg, WI 53711
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 project will result in the design of materials for a unique microfilm dressing that synergistically employ antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents at the onset of wound treatment and immobilizes them on wound surface for sustained intimate contact. Microbial colonization can lead to chronic wound infections, where topical antimicrobials and antibiotics become ineffective because bacteria live in biofilms. Approaches that combine the management of biofilms and microbial burden together at the beginning of wound treatment have the potential to substantially advance healing of wounds. Phase 1 research will result in the design of materials for microfilm dressing that provide an initial burst release of antibiofilm gallium that disperse biofilms and sensitize microbes in biofilms to antimicrobials, followed by a prolonged sustained release of non-toxic levels of silver that kill bacteria and prevent recolonization. Together, the two approaches of localized immobilization and sensitization of bacteria with gallium, would significantly reduce the amount of silver required to kill bacteria in acute and chronic infections, reducing tissue toxicity. Results of this feasibility study will advance scientific understanding on synergy in strategic pairing of antimicrobial and antibiofilm agents that can be used for various surgical applications. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to directly impact treatment plans for both acute and chronic wounds in hospitals through the development of a new therapeutic approach applicable at the onset of wound treatment. The new approach employing microfilm dressings would prevent the initiation of bacterial colonization of damaged tissues where development of biofilms can cause failure of therapy, loss of limbs and death. The engineering design of microfilm dressings facilitates their conformal contact to the wound-bed at the nanoscale level, increasing the efficacy of localized antimicrobial agents 10-100 fold on wound surface. Moreover, synergistic application of antibiofilm and antimicrobial agents sensitize microbes in biofilms to significantly low concentrations of antimicrobials. Resulting microfilm dressings will be applicable in combination with any secondary dressing and will reduce the frequency of dressing changes, expanding their use to broader clinical indications. It will provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to expensive antimicrobial dressings and significantly reduce treatment costs by reducing incidence of infections. Emerging fundamental concepts of managing wound bioburden would be generalizable to various clinical applications such as gastro-intestinal defects and hernia surgical mesh, where microbial infections are a serious problem, promising a broad clinical, social and economic impact.