Advanced Medical Solutions testing surgical superglue stick

A medical superglue developed by Advanced Medical Solutions (AMS) for surgeons to use in operations instead of sutures or staples could be on the market for the first time as early as next year (The Telegraph, 2017).

The AIM listed, Cheshire-based maker of wound dressings and surgical equipment, developed the glue, called Liquiband Fix8, at its manufacturing and R&D facility in Plymouth.

It’s already being used by surgeons in other parts of Europe doing laparoscopic hernia operations, whereby a mesh is glued to a patient’s tissue, instead of using sharp staples or tacks, which can be painful for a patient after surgery. However, AMS is now working with surgeons in the UK to test the glue in other areas of surgery, general, orthopaedics and obstetrics and gynaecology.

It’s hoping to win approval from European regulators for one of these indications within twelve months, and to launch the glue by early next year. If it gets the green light, it will be the first time that a surgical glue has been approved for internal use in an area outside of laparoscopic hernia operations, according to Chris Meredith, chief executive of AMS. He said “Surgeons are extremely enthusiastic about this.”

Glue was first used as a medical adhesive during the Vietnam War, although at that time, medics used actual super glue. While it helped patch up wounded soldiers, it also tended to leak cyanide.

Since then, AMS and a handful of other companies have reformulated the chemistry of super glue to medical grade quality. The business, which has a market value of £452m, has been developing these adhesives for twenty years and is one of just a handful of companies with the expertise to do so. Most medical glue is applied on the skin to heal wounds, such as deep cuts, but applying the sticky stuff internally during operations is seen as the next big thing in surgery.

It’s also a potentially lucrative area for AMS. LiquiBand Fix8 generated £1m in sales for laparoscopic hernia surgery in its first year on the market. Successfully extending the use of the glue to other areas of surgery, and being the first player to do so, is a potential goldmine for company.

Alongside this, AMS is hoping to launch LiquiBand Fix8 for laparoscopic hernia surgery into the US market, which is worth £100m a year, compared with £50m in Europe. Chris Meredith said AMS was working with US regulators to bring the technology across the pond, where it would be the first product of its kind. He said “The downside of the US is that it will take three years, so it is a long and costly approvals process, but the upside is others will have to go through the same route so we have the opportunity to be first to market.”

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