Evonik's VESTAKEEP i4 3DF PEEK filament biomaterial used in first US surgeries involving 3D-printed implant by Curiteva; product is world's first interconnected porous polyether ether ketone implanted structure approved for commercial use, company says

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

April 21, 2023 (press release) –

VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF biomaterial filament

Janusz Berger
Head of Market Communications
High Performance Polymers
Nina Peck
Head of Market Communications
Smart Materials
  • VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF is the world’s first implant-grade filament based on PEEK for use in medical 3D printing of human surgical implants
  • Curiteva’s world’s first 3D printed spinal implants for commercial use are based on Evonik’s VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF biomaterial filament
  • Combination of Curiteva’s technology and Evonik’s cutting edge material offers the possibility of enhance integration and healing for spinal surgery

Allentown (PA), USA. History was made a few days ago with the first US surgeries involving a unique spinal implant made from Evonik’s VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF PEEK filament biomaterial. Created by US-based technology company, Curiteva, the high-tech implant is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration and is the world’s first 3D printed, fully interconnected porous polyether ether ketone (PEEK) implanted structure of its kind for commercial use.

The surgeries were conducted during mid-April in the US. The inspire platform was manufactured utilizing the Evonik VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF PEEK high-performance polymer on a proprietary, patented 3D printer designed, programmed, and built by Curiteva.

Alex Vaccaro, MD, PhD, president of Philadelphia-based Rothman Orthopedic Institute, had this to share, “I believe structure drives biology and the lattice PEEK architecture enabled by Curiteva’s 3D printing process represents an exciting advancement in spine, orthopedics, and neurosurgical procedures which involve any type of biologic implant”.

Kevin Foley, MD, Chairman of Semmes-Murphey Neurologic and Spine Institute and professor of neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center commented, “The Inspire porous PEEK technology checks all of the boxes for an ideal interbody implant: fully interconnected porosity, modulus of elasticity equivalent to cancellous bone, strong biomechanical properties, radiolucency, and a bioactive surface for osseointegration.”

Randy Dryer, MD, Central Texas Spine Institute commented, “Interconnected porosity, pore size distribution, and nano-surface architecture are typically hallmarks of the most effective synthetic allografts. I believe this novel implant enhanced with HAFUSE nano-surface topography incorporates those features and presents an optimal environment for osteoprogenitor cells to move throughout the implant enhancing bone healing (fusion) and reducing risk of subsidence. I’m excited to offer this to my patients.”

Designed especially for use in additive manufacturing processes, Evonik’s VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF comes in filament form and meets stringent requirements of ASTM F2026, which is the standard for PEEK polymers approved for use in surgical implant applications. It is the world’s first 3D-printable filament to meet this requirement for medical use.

“Evonik’s breakthrough 3D-printable implant material opens up exciting new possibilities in individually adaptable medical treatments, like spinal implants,” says Marc Knebel, head of Evonik’s Medical Devices & Systems market segment. “Innovative developments like our VESTAKEEP® i4 3DF PEEK filaments, are designed for the utmost biocompatibility, biostability and x-ray transparency – making them excellent materials for orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery.”

Evonik has been the world’s leading manufacturer in high-performance polymers and additives and its products have been used in 3D printing applications for more than 20 years. In addition to these implant grade filaments, the company produces a testing-grade PEEK filament that offers the same properties without the documentation needed for surgical implants. Its other 3D printing materials are used in highly demanding environments, and include resins suitable for photocuring and powders ideal for sintering -based manufacturing processes.

Evonik is one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals. The company is active in more than 100 countries around the world and generated sales of €18.5 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of €2.49 billion in 2022. Evonik goes far beyond chemistry to create innovative, profitable, and sustainable solutions for customers. About 34,000 employees work together for a common purpose: We want to improve life today and tomorrow. 

The Smart Materials division includes businesses with innovative materials that enable resource-saving solutions and replace conventional materials. They are the smart answer to the major challenges of our time: environment, energy efficiency, urbanization, mobility and health. The Smart Materials division generated sales of €4.83 billion in 2022 with about 7,900 employees.

In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.

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