Rapid City, South Dakota (PRWEB) April 10, 2014
Nanofiber Separations, LLC announced today that it has been awarded a $709,849.00 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the efficient and scalable production of nanofiber filters for lower cost pharmaceutical purifications.
According to Dr. Todd Menkhaus, the company’s Co-founder and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, “In recent years, biopharmaceutical therapeutics have become major contributors in the fights against life threatening and debilitating disorders. Prior to 1997, only 6% of the approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for new therapies were for biopharmaceuticals, which are more efficacious and have fewer side effects than traditional chemo-pharmaceuticals. Today, biopharmaceutical products account for over one-third of all new approvals and over 30% of total pharmaceutical sales, but are extremely expensive to produce, which translates into higher costs for the patient.”
Menkhaus said that “It is the goal of Nanofiber Separations, LLC to commercialize an innovative type of bioseparation media utilizing electrospun nanofibers for highly efficient purification of the high-value biopharmaceutical products”. Dr. Menkhaus also said that “compared to competitive products, these nanofiber filters will provide shorter processing times, reduce the amount of waste generated, and decrease the volume of separation media required, all leading to much lower processing costs, smaller operating footprints and contribute to enabling individualized medicine.”
Dr. Hao Fong, Co-Founder, Professor of Chemistry at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and one of the pioneers and leading scientists nationwide on electrospun nanofibers, stated that “commercially available separation filters are generally composed of coarse microfibers with diameters of 5-15 microns. This relatively large diameter reduces the specific surface area (surface area to volume ratio) within a membrane bed, and significantly limits the potential binding capacity of the module. Thus, by using smaller, nanometer diameter fibers (“nanofibers”, with diameters ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers), the available surface area within a given bed volume for potential binding will be greatly increased by as much as two orders of magnitude. As such, the purification process will require much less of the filter material.”
D. Craig Arnold, CEO of Nanofiber Separations, stated, “The Phase II project will further develop and evaluate optimal production methods for a suite of nanofiber-based adsorption media to be implemented for bioseparations within the biopharmaceutical industry.” Mr. Arnold continued, “Nanofiber Separations has identified additional applications for this innovative technology and we are currently pursuing additional non-dilutive funding sources that will support multiple development pathways and markets.”
After leveraging prior work completed during a $180,000 NSF SBIR Phase I project, the Phase II endeavor officially started March 1, 2014. The SBIR Program reserves a portion of a Federal agency's research budget for award to small businesses through a three-phase process in which strong emphasis is placed on the ultimate pursuit of commercial applications from SBIR results. The program provides increased opportunities for small businesses to participate in R&D, increase employment, and improve U.S. competitiveness.
The Nanofiber Separations project is supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Number: IIP-1329377. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Nanofiber Separations, LLC and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
About Nanofiber Separations, LLC
Nanofiber Separations, LLC produces cutting-edge separation media composed of functionalized nanofibers. The product is manufactured from a randomly overlaid mat of electrospun nanofibers, which provide a unique separation medium capable of both size-based as well as adsorptive separation mechanisms. The highly advanced and proprietary formulation provides the opportunity to greatly enhance process efficiencies and economics in the biopharmaceutical, water treatment, desalination, blood products, and air purification industries. Nanofiber Separations is located on the Internet at http://www.nanofiberseparations.com and is headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota.
For further information regarding this press release or Nanofiber Separations, please contact:
D. Craig Arnold, CEO