Jump to content
Powered by

ZRM and Naturin develop innovative biomembranes

The Centre for Regenerative Biology and Medicine (ZRM) in Tübingen has joined forces with Naturin GmbH, based in Weinheim. The partners plan to develop new carrier materials on the basis of collagen, which improve cell cultures and medical implants.

Cells need to grow on carrier materials in order to be able to repair damaged tissues or organs. Collagen, a natural constituent of skin, is generally recognised as a useful matrix for achieving this. Collagen scaffolds on which cells are cultured are used for research as well as for human application, for example as wound cover or as the basis for stable connective tissue implants. Collagen has the additional benefit that it can store drugs as well as growth factors. However, the demands on collagen matrices are high: The starting material must not only be biocompatible and stable over a long period of time, it must also be tear-proof, elastic, and, most important of all, extraordinarily thin. Some implants require the carriers to have a thickness of less than 100 micrometres.
ZRM and Naturin GmbH are jointly developing innovative, biocompatible cell carriers based on collagen. Different variants are available for use in six, 12, or 24 plate wells. (Photo: ZRM/Naturin GmbH)
ZRM and Naturin GmbH are jointly developing innovative, biocompatible cell carriers based on collagen. Different variants are available for use in six-, 12-, or 24-plate wells. (Photo: ZRM/Naturin GmbH)
Traditional collagen materials have to be modified for use in medical applications. Through the ZRM, the University of Tübingen contributes to the partnership experts with key medical and cell-biological know-how. These experts have a huge amount of experience in cell culture and tissue engineering. Naturin contributes its expertise in handling collagen and production to the partnership. The company produces high-quality collagen materials that are mainly used in the food industry, including sausage producers who require collagen skin of consistently high quality and mechanical robustness. 70 years of research and development have enabled Naturin to produce collagen materials of a quality that enables their use not only in food but also for highly sensitive medical applications.

ZRM and Naturin have already made the first steps towards a close partnership by filing a joint patent on an innovative collagen product. This product fulfills the ambitious claim of the partners and is able to tolerate a high level of mechanical strain at the same time as being only 20 micrometres thick.
Foetal murine cardiomyocytes were cultured on a collagen matrix for seven days. Immunofluorescent alpha-actinin staining (red) shows the typical, red Z stripes of muscle cells. The autonomous contraction activity of the muscle cells was maintained over th
Foetal murine cardiomyocytes were cultured on a collagen matrix for seven days. Immunofluorescent alpha-actinin staining (red) shows the typical, red Z stripes of muscle cells. The autonomous contraction activity of the muscle cells was maintained over the entire culture period (size bar: 20 micrometres). (Photo: ZRM/Naturin GmbH)

These properties make the tissue suitable for use in complex medical applications, for example for the reconstruction of connective, supporting and muscle tissue.

While ZRM will focus on research and sophisticated cell-biological analyses, Naturin will produce the jointly developed starting material and be in charge of production and marketing of the new collagen products. With its experience in large-scale industrial production of certified products, the company is able to carry out the transfer from laboratory bench to production quickly and efficiently. Both partners will profit from their commitment because ZRM shares the profit that Naturin GmbH makes with the new, collagen-based life science products.

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/zrm-and-naturin-develop-innovative-biomembranes