FunBioPlas

Novel synthetic biocomposites for biomedical devices
Acronym: FunBioPlas

Consortium
- Raul Machado - University of Minho - Portugal
- José Carlos Rodriguez-Cabllo - Universidad de Valladolid - Spain
- Stephanie Lesage - Oxford Biomaterials Ltd - United Kingdom

Innovative biomedical products rely on newly developed materials tailored for specific biomedical applications. The FunBioPlas project aims to functionalize bioplastics specifically developed for the fabrication of vascular grafts, temporary skin substitutes and catheters. This will be achievable through the biotechnological production of functionalized recombinant protein-based polymers
(rPBPs) and their use as fillers in the formulation of biopolymer matrices and further integration into industrial plastic processing routes. The challenge of FunBioPlas is to drive rPBPs closer to the marketplace, which will be achievable by: i) scaling-up the use of agro-industrial wastes to reduce costs of rPBPs biotechnological production, ii) optimizing the processing conditions and iii) formulating novel materials based on rPBPs.

rPBPs are an emerging class of biomaterials with unique chemical, physical and biological characteristics, produced with the precise control of the polymer chain composition and length. Synthetic protein biotechnology approaches allow us to tailor-make the molecular structure of rPBPs and incorporate biologically active functionalities. We will therefore create medical devices with enhanced biological performance, including better infection control and cell function, as well as improved mechanical properties through the integration of rPBPs in the fabrication processes. The present proposal involves the cooperation of academic institutions from Portugal (University of Minho, UMinho, project coordination) and Spain (Universidad de Valladolid, UvA), as well as an SME from UK (Oxford Biomaterials Ltd, OBM) to provide expertise across the whole value chain of the project: from the designing and bioproduction of rPBPs, materials characterization and processing, to the proof-of-concept and market validation.

The FunBioPlas project thus represent a unique opportunity to develop highly innovative cross-disciplinary research.