BioTransitions Aims to Redefine Wound CareDr. Jeffery Catchmark will be the first person to tell you that he doesn’t consider himself business-savvy, but he somehow managed to develop an idea for a company that could redefine how to approach wound care. What began as an effort to replace Styrofoam with a more environmentally safe alternative, specifically foam, has taken on a life of its own, with significant potential to impact the medical field and patient care. “One of my research focus areas is the development of biological materials that can replace synthetics for high volume commercial products that generate significant land and ocean pollution. The foam product was to be (and hopefully will be) a Styrofoam replacement. But after interfacing with the Hershey Medical Center, I learned that it could also be a new material for wound care,” Catchmark explains.

“The foam product was to be (and hopefully will be) a Styrofoam replacement. But after interfacing with the Hershey Medical Center, I learned that it could also be a new material for wound care.”

BioTransitions began as part of the Ben Franklin Technology partner TechCelerator program. According to Catchmark, this is where he learned the business aspect of developing a product and company. “The TechCelerator program is an exceptional one for educating people like me not skilled in the business development aspects.” Currently BioTransitions is made up of a small team: Dr. Jeffery Catchmark, a visiting scholar (currently Runzhou Huang), Dr. Scott Armen from Hershey Medical Center, and his resident, Dr. Melissa Linskey. Together, they are conducting research in an effort to optimize the foam for traumatic wound care application.

“I was delighted that the TechCelerator experts and final presentation review panel recognized the enormous potential of the new material in the biomedical space.”

Through the TechCelerator program, BioTransitions was the recipient of a $5,000 award this past December. Using those funds, Catchmark has been able to travel to work with a prototyping facility to develop the foam. This award has been critical in continuing the research and development of the product. “I was delighted that the TechCelerator experts and final presentation review panel recognized the enormous potential of the new material in the biomedical space,” says Catchmark. To further their research, the BioTransitions team is hoping to receive a pending grant that, if awarded, “would help us optimize the foam for military applications, specifically traumatic wound care, and develop a volume manufacturing process.”

Catchmark hopes that the movement forward in the product development and research will eventually require him to create a formal company. “At some point, a company may make good sense to help advance the commercialization of specific products into sectors like traumatic wound care, surgical care, chronic wounds, and even animal care applications.”