Biodegradable Materials

The use of biodegradable materials is increasingly necessary to meet product requirements from an environmental, sustainability, or medical perspective. The overwhelming majority of polymers employed today are petroleum-derived and are non-biodegradable, and may have adverse or unknown long-term environmental impacts. In medical applications not requiring a permanent device, often it is desirable for an implant or suture to slowly degrade, whether as part of a drug delivery mechanism or once the functional purpose of the device has been fulfilled. In such cases, the need for additional procedures to remove the device is mitigated, reducing the possibility for patient complications.

Selection, Formulation & Characterization of Biodegradable Materials 

Cambridge Polymer Group can work with you in the selection, development, and characterization of biodegradable materials or devices. We can help you to help define what degradation means in the context of your application and how this can be quantitatively tracked. Is a simple measurement of mass loss sufficient? Or should degradation consider the functional properties (e.g. mechanical strength) of the material?

Our polymer chemists and chemical engineers can evaluate your existing or candidate biodegradable polymers for characterization of degradation mechanisms (e.g. hydrolytic degradation at an ester bond), degradation kinetics, susceptibility to enzymatic degradation, and an evaluation of degradation products.

CPG can also help your team tweak existing material formulations or morphology in order to achieve desired degradation kinetics or release profiles—whether such a change is minor (change in molecular weight or crosslinker) or major (substantial change in underlying chemistry). Our scientists can assess such questions in the context of your application and process constraints and suggest various options for how to achieve your functional product requirements.

CPG scientists have also developed custom biodegradable materials, including biodegradable hydrogels that may be leveraged for drug delivery applications.

Contact CPG with assistance in biodegradable materials, including:

  • Material selection
  • Material development or formulation
  • Tuning and characterization of degradation kinetics
  • Degradation product analysis
  • Material degradation impact on functional properties (e.g. mechanical, rheological characteristics)
  • Biodegradable material shelf life/stability
  • Degradable materials for drug delivery
  • “Triggered” degradation mechanisms