Biomedical Structures in Warwick manufactures in certified clean rooms for one critical reason.
“Everything we manufacture is intended to be surgically implanted in the human body,” said Vice President John Gray.
“We develop and manufacture textile structures for the medical-device world and that’s been growing fantastically for the last 11 years,” said Gray, one of company’s founders in 2002.
Biomedical and other Rhode Island manufacturers, including HTP-Meds in Hopkinton, that have embarked on innovative paths related to the medical industry are a sign of the state’s diversification and innovation, says Bill McCourt, executive director of the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association.
“Some people think the textile industry in Rhode Island is dying, but these companies are looking at needs in the marketplace and taking their existing expertise and capabilities and applying that to new markets,” said McCourt.
“In the medical applications, these individual business owners have seen opportunities and taken it upon themselves to go one step further,” McCourt said.
Biomedical Structures works in collaboration with medical-equipment manufacturers to design, develop and manufacture products, including sutures, knit products for hernia repair and woven structures for orthopedic applications.
“We help our customers design fabrics or textile structures and we’ll work with them to develop the product, which belongs to them,” he said. “Then there’s product development and validation and our customer works with the FDA to get the product approved.”
The process for new medical devices to go through testing and regulatory approvals can take years.
“Then they come back to us for production,” said Gray.
Biomedical Structures launched in the village of Slatersville in North Smithfield with a bioabsorbable nonwoven material used for a tissue engineering application, said Gray.
Tissue engineering is an emerging segment that is growing slowly, he said.