Accentus Medical has its foundations in the research laboratories of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), located at the Harwell site south of Oxford. This prestigious site still remains the home of Accentus Medical and the historically renowned Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well as accommodating the internationally recognised Diamond Synchrotron and ISIS, the world’s largest pulsed neutron source.
Pioneering coating techniques for orthopaedic implants
The UKAEA first became involved in the field of orthopaedics in the 1970s when many orthopaedic manufacturers were searching for processes to improve the strength, wear-resistance and biocompatibility of the metallic alloys used in their implants.
As part of the research into nuclear reactor design, many coating techniques such as thermal plasma spraying, ion implantation, and titanium nitride surface enhancement were discovered and developed at Harwell and then adopted by numerous orthopaedic companies. For example, plasma spray metallic and hydroxyapatite coatings are now used globally in cementless total joint prostheses.
Considerable expertise in other areas relevant to orthopaedic science was also available at Harwell. This included failure mode analysis, fatigue testing of metallic artefacts and corrosion studies. As a result the Harwell site rapidly became the leading UK centre for the regulatory testing of joint replacement products and was involved in the initial drafting of numerous British and ISO standards covering the testing of orthopaedic devices and the specification of medical grade alloys.
Leading supplier of Acusure® coating technologies
Today, Accentus Medical is the UK’s largest independent supplier of a range of inert/reducing gas plasma spray coatings, known as Acusure®, to global orthopaedic device manufacturers. The company continues to conduct regulatory testing and other analytical studies for many major orthopaedic implant manufacturers.
Innovative research and development of orthopaedic implants and other medical devices
Accentus Medical has its own well established research and development group which is involved in the development of intellectual property in the medical device area. Currently these interests include porous in-growth surfaces and the pioneering development of Agluna®, a novel surface modification technology. The Agluna® process binds silver ions into the surface of medical devices leaving a surface with proven anti-microbial properties. Agluna® is currently undergoing clinical evaluation by licensee Stanmore Implants Worldwide Ltd in the field of custom made tumour replacement prostheses and its application in many other medical devices is being evaluated, Joint Reconstruction, Trauma, Spine, Dentistry, Cardiology and Neurology for example.