The patented GLACETM platform technology combines the benefits of medical grade fiber-reinforced composites and bioactive glass. The present technology is tailored for the production of anatomically formed bone repair implants using digital medical imaging data and CAD-CAM processes. The fiber-reinforced composite provides a highly durable and tough skeleton for the implant whereas the bioactive glass serves as an osteogenesis inducing compound with an additional bacteriostatic function. Medical grade glass fibers provide high-aspect ratio reinforcements for composite implants in the same way fibers are used in aerospace and other highly demanding industrial applications. Bioactive glass is a calcium, phosphorus, silicon and sodium ion releasing silicate glass, which induces the stem cell differentiation to bone forming cells. The released ions also have an antibacterial and biomineralization function, which are key features in GLACETM technology.
Skulle Implants Corporation was established in 2011 to commercialize innovations and research findings concerning bioactive glasses and the successful use of fiber-reinforced composites in dentistry. Fundamental research of bioactive glasses was carried out at the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University in Finland already in the 1980s. Following the intensive composite material research at the Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku in the late 1990s, the introduction of dental fiber-reinforced composites for clinical and commercial use created a solid foundation for a completely new type of bone surgery implants based on the GLACETM technology. The technology and unique production of implants combine the benefits of durable and imaging-compatible fiber-reinforced composites and the bone forming capability of bioactive glasses. As a result, medical implantology has shifted from metal-containing implants to novel high-tech composite implants of individual anatomic design and contour.
GLACETM – Good to the bone
The active innovation and patenting policy resulted in the establishment of Skulle Implants. Globally, it is the only Class III (European Medical Device Regulation) medical device producing company that focuses on the production of unique custom-made bioactive glass fiber composite implants for bone repair and replacement. In 2014, the company launched its new production facilities in Turku and received accreditation for starting the production of custom-made implants. Skulle Implants aims to expand the clinical indications of GLACETM platform technology in close collaboration with clinical experts and material scientists.