Kohn's new biomaterial is a bioresorbable polymer. It was exclusively licensed early in 2004 by Rutgers' Office of Corporate Liaison & Technology Transfer to a private medical device company, REVA Medical, Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), for incorporation into REVA's stent devices. Stents are tiny tubular-shaped scaffolds that are inserted into diseased arteries to keep them open. The market for such devices currently exceeds $5 billion per year.
Scientists at REVA Medical and at Kohn's Rutgers Laboratory collaborated to choose polymer compositions that would be ideally suited for use in the REVA stent. This process is usually a long and costly research project. With methods of combinatorial synthesis and computer modeling, however, Kohn's group identified a promising polymer composition in an exceptionally short time.
Based on both the rapid development from concept to prototype, and the early success of pre-clinical studies, Boston Scientific Corporation (Natick, Mass.), the world's leading stent company, announced on Nov. 16, 2004 that it had entered into a strategic alliance with REVA Medical. This alliance included a significant investment in REVA Medical.
"We regard REVA's relationship with Boston Scientific as a pivotal chapter in our technology transfer initiative," said Kohn, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers and director of the center. "REVA has stent designs that add to the mechanical strength of our polymer, and with Boston Scientific's involvement, we are hopeful the successes we have seen will continue and grow."
REVA Chairman Bob Stockman said, "REVA's close collaboration with Rutgers is the ideal example of industry sponsoring research on cutting edge technology developed in academia. The brilliance and productivity of Professor Kohn and his laboratory staff will contribute substantially to the ultimate commercialization of our bioresorbable stents."
REVA President Bob Schultz added, "We undertook a careful and exhaustive search for an ideal polymer to suit our product specifications for durability, safety, uniqueness, and other critical properties in designing a next generation stent product. We worked closely with Professor Kohn and his group in selecting polymers and processes that would improve the material. They delivered beyond our expectations."
Speaking for his research team, Kohn said, "We are grateful for the funding obtained through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. This technology transfer story is an example of how NIH-funded research can move forward rapidly to contribute to improving health through application of basic sciences."