Sign Up for ORTHOPRENEUR news & articles

Choose one or more mailing lists:
ORTHOPRENEUR Advertising Opportunities
ORTHOPRENEUR Product Updates
First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:
Business Name:
Industry        Surgeon

Your privacy and data is important to us and we will never sell or use your information for any purpose other than stated.

Neurosurgeon Launches Products Prioritizing Surgical Infection Prevention

Posted in Surgeon as Entrepreneur | May 2016 | Comments (0)

Tags: Editor's Choicemedical device developmenthealthcare costshealthcare cost containmentmedical device patentsoutcomesspinetraumasurgical infection

Silver Bullet Therapeutics launched in 2009 to commercialize antimicrobial bone screws to prevent infections following trauma surgery. Since then, the company has received five U.S. patents relating to its technology. The product, OrthoFuzIon Antimicrobial Bone Screw, received its CE Mark in March 2015 and is expecting FDA approval in 2016.

The company was co-founded by Bodhan Chopko, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery for Stanford University, based on his own clinical challenges treating spinal infections.

Chopko had experience with product development from working with Paul Chirico, co-Founder, President and CEO of Silver Bullet Therapeutics, at SpineAlign Medical, which manufactured a nickel-titanium implant for correction of kyphosis from osteoporosis. Chopko served on SpineAlign’s scientific advisory board and conducted its FDA feasibility work.

Silver Bullet Therapeutics’ OrthoFuzIon Antimicrobial Bone Screw works by activating an electrical charge to release a cloud of antimicrobial silver ions around the implanted device.

ORTHOPRENEUR spoke to Chopko and Chirico to learn more about their product and company vision, and the impact that preventing post-surgical infections can have on the orthopaedic industry.

ORTHOPRENEUR: What’s the backstory of the company?

Bohdan Chopko_PhD_MD_Silver_Bullet_Therapeutics_191x236Chopko:
It was born out of frustration. As a neurosurgeon I was always seeing patients with infections, especially spinal infections. I was training in San Diego, where we saw a lot of spine infections—and strange infections from other regions such as Southeast Asia, with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in the spine, or people who had compromised immune systems. I had a lot of patients who were incredibly pained by a horrific infection that was basically inside the bone, gnawing away, and it was very difficult to treat with IV antibiotics.

In a patient with an unstable or fractured spine, conventional wisdom dictates that you put in instrumentation to stabilize the spine so it can heal. However that’s going against what we want to do, to never knowingly put a biologic implant such as titanium into an area that has active infection. If someone presented with a massive hip infection, the last thing a surgeon would do is put in a hip implant, because it would probably get infected. Bacteria love living inside of an implant, because there’s no immune system or blood supply and there are all these nooks and crannies to start to set up shop. We’re stuck with these patients with the spine infections who just wanted their pain to go away, and all I could tell them is we biopsy it, we know what it is and you just have to hang on until the infection clears.

One day, Paul was with me for a site visit for our SpineAlign IDE trial. I brought this up as with a particular, personal challenge. We thought, what if we came up with a device that is directly and explicitly designed to be put into the center of an infected bone, to treat and stabilize the infected area? We initially came up with orthopaedic bone screws, but now we’ve branched out to a platform technology for not just treating but preventing infections on implanted devices.

Add comment

Security code