Medtronic buys gel with sinus surgery prospects

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The world’s largest medical device maker bought the rights to a technology that it hopes can one day develop products for functional endoscopic sinus surgery.

Minneapolis-based Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT) said that the so-called chitosan-dextran gel technology was acquired from Robinson Squidgel Ltd., the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

A Medtronic spokesman declined to provide the purchase price for the technology.

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More than 525,000 functional endoscopic sinus surgery procedures are performed annually in the U.S., and the most common complications resulting from the procedure are bleeding and adhesions, according to Medtronic. Adhesions are scars that can form at the surgical site as sinus tissues heal after surgery. These adhesions can block the sinuses and can lead to the recurrence of the disease requiring further surgery.

Medtronic hopes that the technology it acquired can help in alleviating such complications.

In animal studies, the chitosan-dextran gel technology has demonstrated an ability to control the bleeding and facilitate wound healing following the surgery. A human trial also showed its ability to immediately control the bleeding after the procedure and resulted in fewer scars at the site of the surgery. Chitosan is a polymer produced from the chitin of shellfish and squid. Chitin is a polysaccharide found in the outer skeleton of insects, crabs, shrimps and lobsters, and in the internal structures of other invertebrates.

“The chitosan-dextran gel technology would enhance Medtronic’s ability to offer innovative, therapeutic products for sinus surgeons to use in postoperative patient care,” Surgical Technologies business ENT division president Mark Fletcher said in prepared remarks.

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