1. What is SiMPore?SiMPore Inc.
(“SiMPore”) develops and produces ultrathin nanoporous membranes, membrane filters, and filtration products for imaging, separation, purification, and concentration of nano-sized materials, such as proteins and nanotubes. This technology enables precision fractionation and purification of proteins, drug molecules, viruses and other nanomaterials only previously possible with more complex and costly equipment.
2. How was this membrane technology developed?
SiMPore’s membrane technology was first developed by Chris Striemer, who was, at the time, completing his Ph.D. studies in the University of Rochester’s (“UR”) Electrical and Computer Engineering Department under the direction of Professor Philippe Fauchet. Using silicon wafers traditionally found in microelectronic "chips," Striemer developed nanothin membranes with nanopores. Striemer and Fauchet shared their research with Professor James McGrath and his graduate student, Tom Gaborski, in UR’s Biomedical Engineering Department. McGrath and Gaborski, with involvement from other UR graduate students, then developed applications for this technology. With the assistance of UR’s Office of Technology Transfer (River Campus), the team also filed patent applications for these discoveries.
3. How was SiMPore created?
SiMPore was formed in 2007 by Striemer, Gaborski, McGrath, Fauchet, and James Roussie to develop products based on this new membrane technology, which is exclusively licensed by SiMPore. Rick Richmond, a seasoned entrepreneur with prior experience in the polymer membrane field, also joined the team, initially as a coach to assist the company in preparing its business plan.
4. Does SiMPore continue to collaborate with UR?
Yes. UR has formed the Nanomembrane Research Group (“NRG”), a group of students, senior scientists, faculty, and entrepreneurs drawn primarily from UR’s Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments, to further develop this membrane technology. In April 2008, the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (“NYSTAR”) awarded the NRG a grant under its Technology Transfer Incentive Program to purchase equipment and cover some expenses related to commercializing this technology. Under the terms of the NYSTAR grant, SiMPore, the NRG, and other UR researchers and students share access to the equipment and UR’s facilities. SiMPore has also partially funded a postdoctoral position in the NRG and a related research project through UR’s Center for Electronic Imaging Systems, a NYSTAR-funded program.
5. Would you describe SiMPore’s recent collaboration with Syracuse University?
With the assistance of the NYS Science and Technology Law Center (“NYS STLC”), SiMPore is working with faculty and students from Syracuse University’s College of Law to analyze various business and legal issues related to the protection and commercialization of this membrane technology. SiMPore will also be participating in Commercializing University Inventions: Case Studies, a Lab-To-Market conference hosted by the NYS STLC on November 7, 2008 (details here
6. What is SiMPore’s current status?
SiMPore will produce membrane products for the bioresearch market and sell membranes to other companies, under license, for use in their membrane-based products. SiMPore expects to introduce its first product, membranes for transmission electron microscopy in September 2008 and plans to introduce its second product, SepCon® separator/concentrators, in late 2008.
7. Who’s on SiMPore’s management team?
• Rick Richmond, Chief Executive Officer
• Tom Gaborski, Vice President for Product Development
• Chris Striemer, Vice President for Membranes
• James Roussie, Marketing Director
• Philippe Fauchet, Chairman
• Jim McGrath, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee