Pearl Farming Enters Medical Industry

Pinctada maxima shell

Pinctada maxima shell

A new Western Australian biotech company could revolutionise the global medical devices and products sector, drawing on the unique characteristics of marine resources sourced from the pristine waters of Broome in the State’s north.

Marine Biomedical intends to develop medical products and devices derived from marine resources including nacre – commonly known as mother of pearl. Its patented debut technology PearlBone™ is a bone substitute material derived from nacre sourced from sustainably certified Western Australian silver-lipped pearl oysters.

PearlBone™ was developed through a program of research at the University of Western Australia that identified the potential for marine resources including nacre to be used in medical applications, specifically orthopaedic, trauma and reconstructive surgery.

Traditional bone substitutes made from calcium carbonate (limestone) can trigger adverse biological reactions once placed in the body, including inconsistent and sometimes unpredictable bone formation. The research demonstrating the possibilities of using nacre in place of a calcium carbonate product represents a potential paradigm shift; PearlBone™ technology offers significant potential for the global health sector in areas including bone loss due to trauma, bone tumours, joint reconstruction and the stabilisation of vertebrae in spinal fusion surgery.

Marine Biomedical Chief Executive Patrick Moase, a marine biologist with more than 22 years of commercial pearling industry expertise, said Marine Biomedical aimed to demonstrate the capacity for innovation, research excellence and life sciences opportunities in regional areas such as Broome.


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