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LOWELL ߝ The University of Massachusetts Lowell has signed a research and collaboration agreement with MFIC Corp., headquartered in Newton, to develop new applications, processes and products in the area of nanomaterials using MFIC’s leading-edge materials processing and chemical reactor equipment.
Microfluidics, the operating subsidiary of MFIC, will provide a Microfluidizer® Processor and the new-generation Microfluidizer® Multiple Stream Mixer/Reactor (MMR) lab system, to be located on the UMass Lowell campus. The MMR is one of only two advanced, fully equipped systems in existence, with a current value of $350,000. With the processor valued at $100,000, plus the provision of technical and financial support to projects, the MFIC contribution is valued at more than $545,000.
Research will proceed under the direction of the Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence (NCOE) at UMass Lowell.
“We expect the Microfluidics equipment will become key manufacturing platforms for high throughput nanomanufacturing,” said Prof. Julie Chen, director of the NCOE. “Researchers on campus and across industry sectors are interested in exploring nanoparticle production that is scalable from experimental quantities to production amounts, with consistency and stability.”
Irwin Gruverman, CEO and Chairman of MFIC, stated,
“We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with the substantial formulation and engineering strengths at UML. Our Microfluidizer® Processor equipment and the technology embodied therein is well proven in thousands of instances and hundreds of applications, many in nanomaterials-based uses. The MMR chemical reactors, while relatively new, have demonstrated their ability to perform continuous chemical reactions in varied applications which yield, with unparalleled precision, controlled size, purity, product uniformity and pharmacokinetic properties.”
“These innovative systems can enable many UML projects to produce nanomaterials for, among others, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical formulations. We intend to take an active role in the selection and validation of specific Collaboration project targets as members of the Steering Committee that will guide the Collaboration,” he added.
MFIC and the University have ongoing research collaborations. UMass Lowell faculty researchers have been using the Microfluidizer materials processing equipment for significant recent research. Prof. Robert Nicolosi, director of the Center for Health and Disease Research, who has used Microfluidics equipment in the development of nutraceuticals focusing on plant sterols, is developing compounds for medical application; Prof. Carl Lawton, director of the Massachusetts Bioprocess Development Center, assists biotechnology companies in their process development.
The Microfluidizer Processor systems use a “fixed geometry” interaction chamber to force liquid streams through microchannels at extremely high pressure and velocity, and then to collide them. The resultant collision and high shear yields nanoscale particles in stable dispersions or emulsions used in a wide variety of applications such as pharmaceuticals, ink-jet inks and coatings. In biotechnology, the processor is ideal for “cell disruption”: puncturing cell membranes to isolate and harvest the desired protein products within while minimizing required post-disruption processing.
Microfluidics’ patented Multiple Stream Chemical Reactor performs fast, continuous chemical reactions in an ultraturbulent environment. Rather than starting with a premixed formulation, as is the standard practice for the Microfluidizer Processor systems, researchers can introduce two or more streams of pure starting reactant materials to create nanostructures under total control and in production quantities. The technology achieves unprecedented control of nanostructure size and uniformity. Applications may include superconductors, drug reformulations, catalysts, photographic emulsions and making highly durable ceramics.
Under the agreement, UMass Lowell and MFIC will work together to explore and develop applications and new products ߝ using this breakthrough technology ߝ that can move rapidly to commercialization. The Collaboration will benefit both parties through the arrangements for intellectual property, patent rights and licensing royalties.
MFIC Corp., through its Microfluidics subsidiary, provides patented and proprietary high performance Microfluidizer(R) materials processing equipment to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetics/personal care, and food industries. MFIC applies its 20 years of high pressure processing experience to produce the most uniform and smallest liquid and suspended solid structures available, and has provided manufacturing systems for nanoparticle products for more than 15 years. The company is a leader in advanced materials processing equipment for laboratory, pilot scale and manufacturing applications, offering innovative technology and comprehensive solutions for nanoparticles and other materials processing and production. More than 3,000 systems are in use and afford significant competitive and economic advantages to MFIC equipment customers.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management; the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. Visit the website at www.uml.edu.