Teleflex has received a grant from the US Army to develop an anti-biofilm orthopaedic device for the treatment of soldiers.

Awarded by the army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Centre (TATRC), the $2.1m grant will support the research and development of a surface-modified tibial intramedullary nail that combines Semprus sustain and antimicrobial technology.

Teleflex president chairman and chief executive officer Benson Smith said: "Teleflex is pleased to partner with the US Army to develop a solution to an unmet need in orthopaedic injuries affecting our wounded men and women in combat.

"Teleflex is pleased to partner with the US Army to develop a solution to an unmet need in orthopaedic injuries."

"This award will help enable Teleflex to combine its proprietary sustain surface modification and antimicrobial solutions to develop a valuable clinical solution to battleground injuries, and we are hopeful that this collaboration will yield greatly improved clinical outcomes for soldiers."

The grant builds upon an initial $1.1m funding awarded by TATRC to Semprus BioSciences in 2011 for the development of the world’s first orthopaedic devices designed to reduce biofilm formation.

The research is scheduled to be conducted at the company’s facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, in collaboration with the US Army Institute for Surgical Research (USAISR) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, US.

An additional $2.46m could be made available by the US Army, if required.

Orthopaedic injuries, which are a common occurrence in the majority of wounded soldiers, can lead to significant morbidity and a failure to return to duty.

The current standard of care for US military personnel includes initial stabilisation with external fixators, followed by delayed conversion to intramedullary (IM) nails.

In addition, the routine use of debridement techniques, negative pressure wound therapy, prophylactic antibiotics, and bone stabilisation, has significantly improved the management and prevention of infections associated with orthopaedic injuries.

However, orthopaedic infections of up to 30% to 40% still occur in traumatic open fractures, which are caused by a blast injury and are typically treated with fixation devices such as intramedullary nails, plates and screws.

The army is seeking new strategies for preventing infection, including bacterial adherence to metal implants, which is considered to be the first step in orthopaedic infection.

Defence Technology