Better Blocker: New bio-absorbable medical foam headed to market

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jeffrey Catchmark, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is working to commercialize a patent-pending biofoam pad for wound and trauma care.

The material is bioabsorbable, soft and resilient, unique properties useful in treating wounds in surgical, military, veterinary and other settings.

It absorbs blood and body fluids, expands to put pressure on a wound, conforms to the wound’s shape and doesn’t stick to tissue, says Catchmark. Once applied, the foam’s surface transitions to a gel that promotes healing, and can be left inside the body. The foam can be placed within traumatic wounds like gunshots, shrapnel cuts, and other deep wounds to stop bleeding and stabilize the area until the patient can be taken to a medical facility. 

Catchmark won $5,000 from TechCelerator@StateCollege in late 2015 to help take the product to market following the Ten-Week Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs.

“The RAIN Grant is attempting to help faculty cross the valley of death, to get closer to that commercial reality so that someone could adopt it,” said Catchmark.

He and co-principal investigator Scott Armen, chief, Division of Trauma, Acute Care, & Critical Care Surgery at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine also won $75,000 toward commercializing the foam. The College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Medicine jointly funded the award, under the Research Applications for Innovation (RAIN) grant program.

Through its Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, the college awards grants to help researchers commercialize their discoveries and be successful in the marketplace.