The German SME is active in the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology and addresses three challenges:
(1) Surface modification, surface functionalization and encapsulation mainly using the Layer-by-Layer (LbL) coating platform: Controlling surface properties of planar, colloidal, porous or amorphous surfaces is essential in various applications such as pharmaceutical research, food industry, industrial coatings, hi-tech filters and electronics. Bulk coating technologies are either too hard / expensive to apply or they present environmental or technical hurdles e.g. the coatings are too thick. An ideal solution would be to create nanometer thick coatings in an environment-friendly and cost-efficient way without compromise on fine-controlling of surface properties. Company's LbL platform can create well-controlled nanoscale layers of polyelectrolytes, biomolecules and nanoparticles at most surfaces independent of their size, porosity and shape. This LbL film is used to fine-tune surface properties such as charge, hydrophobicity, elasticity, roughness, bio-reactivity, etc. and can combine functional materials such as drugs, biomolecules, imaging tracer molecules or nanoparticles with natural or engineered surfaces. The target surface to be modified can be colloidal particles, channels of microfluidic devices, square meter sized plates and in principle any charged surface. Furthermore, LbL technology can be used to produce polymer based hollow capsules which are tunable drug delivery vehicles as they allow a pH, temperature or light triggered drug release.
(2) Tailored production of fluorescent polymers (polyelectrolytes), nanoparticles, microparticles and microbubbles is company's second activity area. Tracking, sorting or imaging thin polymer coatings or particles is possible by integrating fluorescent dyes into these materials. This integration process is, however, not straightforward and requires well-established production and characterization facilities. Even then, it is difficult to find the ideal fluorescent materials in the market. The company optimized fluorescent labeling process for various dyes and materials throughout years of research and offers their expertise to potential partners for tailored applications.
(3) Bioanalysis (antibody-antigen interactions, etc.) and determination of pH, temperature, oxygen, chloride in micron-scale spaces such as in cell cultures, organ-on-a-chip and microfluidic units are complicated, expensive and in some cases impossible if electronic sensors are to be used. In order to address this challenge, the German SME has developed unique microparticle (bead) based microsensors that work with optical principles such as fluorescence or whispering gallery modes. Scientists at the company would work with partners to realize real-time measurements in cell cultures, microfluidics, and even inside large cells with help of most commonly used fluorescent microscopes.
Cooperation partners may use all three technologies on the basis of a license agreement or they can jointly develop new surfaces, materials and microsensors on the basis of a research cooperation agreement. The SME also offers the opportunity of tailored development of similar technologies on the basis of a research cooperation or manufacturing agreement.
Advantages and Innovations
By means of of nanometer thick, Layer-by-Layer (LbL) deposited polymer or particle films, it is possible to tailor the physical properties of almost all planar or colloidal surfaces of any size. Controllable surface properties include hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, roughness, surface charge, permeability, bio-reactivity and more. A unique advantage of these coatings is that some surface properties such as permeability can be reversibly adjusted via physical triggers such as pH, temperature and light, enabling smart, target-specific drug delivery capsules, high-performance sensors or filtration materials as well as innovative personal care and consumer goods. Apart from the LbL technology, the SME's unique microsensors can analyze biologics and determine pH, temperature, oxygen, chloride in micron-scale spaces e.g. microfluidics, cell cultures and even inside large cells without complex electronics.
Stage of Development
Already on the market
Granted patent or patent application essential Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted Patents granted
Comments Regarding IPR Status
The company has patent families (applied or granted) on nanocoatings, micro-encapsulation, particle production and label-free bioanalysis. Therefore the IPR status depends on the field of the co-development. Most patents are valid in Canada, Germany, European Union, Japan and the US except for the patent on bioanalysis, which is filed only in Germany.
05004001 Filtration and Membrane Processes
05005 Micro- and Nanotechnology
06004 Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
06006006 Biological Nanomaterials
09001009 Sensor Technology related to measurements
04017 Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
05003005 Drug delivery and other equipment
05007002 Pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals
05008002 Food and feed ingredients
M.72.1.1 Research and experimental development on biotechnology
M.72.1.9 Other research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering
Type and Role of Partner Sought
The company is in search of industrial and academic partners of any background who would like to co-develop or apply the LbL platform or microsensors in the framework of a research cooperation agreement (joint research or contract research), a license agreement or a manufacturing agreement. Possible application areas include pharmaceuticals (e. g. smart drug-delivery and drug-release), biotechnology, food, filtration technology, personal and home care, cosmetics, sensors and electronics. Development schemes are organized around a feasibility study and further research, which are detailed by clearly defined milestones.
Type of Partnership Considered
Research cooperation agreement
Type and Size of Client
Industry SME 11-49
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation
Relevant Sector Groups
Nano- and Microtechnologies