MedShape and Impressio were awarded a $250,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to conduct research and development work on a new surgical treatment for hallux rigidus.
The entities seek to create the first arthroplasty device that uses a novel energy-absorbing material developed by Impressio, which is liquid-crystal elastomer (LCE). LCEs form a rubbery material that absorbs energy and dissipates it.
The resulting metatarsophalangeal (MTP) implant is intended to replicate the structural and biomechanical function of native cartilage, while also reducing wear. Future applications could treat arthritis in other joints in the foot, hand and knee.
MedShape markets numerous implants to treat degenerative conditions and correct deformities in the foot and ankle.
Amir Torbati, CSO and co-founder of Impressio, said, "We believe our innovative material can improve human life from head to toe. Back in 2017, we started by using our energy absorbing material in helmet liners and proved that it works in reducing impact to the head. After receiving this NSF SBIR Phase I award, we will be focusing on MTP joint as our first entry point into the body. Once we develop our MTP joint and successfully prove that our technology works in joint replacements, we will start focusing on knee and spine implants."