A WA biotech company is one step closer to transforming reconstructive surgery by creating synthetic bone from pearl shell with the launch of a new world-class laboratory in Broome. Marine Biomedical has been developing PearlBone — which is made from nacre, a pearling industry waste product also known as mother of pearl — as a low-risk alternative to other synthetic bone substitutes. It will use the new facility — backed by a $200,000 State Government grant — to manufacture PearlBone in Broome from locally sourced pearl shells. The ground-breaking idea evolved from research conducted at The University of WA. Medical Research Minister Stephen Dawson said PearlBone had the potential to revolutionise the use of synthetic bone in orthopaedic, trauma and reconstructive surgery to help patients around the world. “This is a very exciting project for Broome,” he said. “This innovation is creating new jobs in the biotech sector, diversifying the Kimberley pearl fishing industry and bringing new skills to our State. “PearlBone is a wonderful example of science partnering with industry and an excellent example of what we are trying to foster in the research and innovation space.” Bone substitutes are part of a growing global industry estimated to be worth $3 billion a year. Pre-clinical trials found that PearlBone showed promise as a natural substitute which could lower the risk of adverse reactions.