PERTH-BASED biotechnology company pSivida Ltd has signed its second major collaborative deal with an international university in two months.The company’s jointly owned subsidiary pSiMedica Ltd (QinetiQ, formerly the British Defence Evaluation Research Agency, holds the other major stake) will work with researchers at Nottingham University’s School of Biomedical Sciences on BioSilicon – a nano-structured, porous silicon.The joint venture aims to evaluate and develop silicon-based compounds that will degrade from within human (and other animals’) bodies. The collaborators hope the research and development program will lead to the development of products in the clinical fields of tissue engineering and orthopaedics such as biodegradable screws, pins and braces.Among other results, such items would eliminate the need for secondary operations to remove pins from broken limbs once the break is healed.The University of Nottingham aims to manufacture and distribute BioSilicon devices under licence from pSivida, which will receive royalties based on that production.Psivida will not be making financial contributions towards the research, rather, it is providing intellectual capital and materials – namely prototypical BioSilicon products.In December 2001, pSivida announced it had signed an option-to-license agreement with Purdue University in the United States. Purdue University has a major nano-technology initiative aimed at demonstrating new techniques for the design and fabrication of nanoelectronic devices by chemical manipulation of nanometer-sized clusters and molecular wires.Based on pSiMedica’s Bio-Silicon work, Purdue successfully coated the surface of a biodegradable semiconductor with residues that enabled almost any known chemical group to be linked to the semiconductor.In both cases, the universities have approached pSivida to express interest in developing the company’s invention.Also in December, the company was granted a US patent for the use of nano-structured, bioactive, silicon-composite structures for a number of therapeutic applications, including the development of composite implants for orthopaedics and controlled drug delivery.
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