Arsenal Medical Inc. presented dramatic progress in the development of high-throughput electrospinning technology Thursday, November 8, 2012, at the Fall Meeting of The Fiber Society in Boston, Mass.
Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP), Arsenal has shown that its processing technology can increase the manufacturing rates of core-sheath fibers (concentrically layered nano- or micro-scale fibers) more than 400 fold, compared with current state-of-the-art needle-based electrospinning techniques. With the ability to yield high production rates while also enhancing quality control, reducing costs and preserving flexibility across multiple materials systems, Arsenal’s high-throughput, slit-surface electrospinning technology is poised to help advance the commercial potential of core-sheath nano- and microfibers across multiple applications.
“We are very excited to unveil this high-throughput slit-surface electrospinning technology, as we believe it represents a major breakthrough in enabling the utilization of core-sheath fibers across a diverse range of applications,” said James J. Barry, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Arsenal Medical. “Arsenal’s capabilities in materials science, high-tech manufacturing and chemical engineering have all contributed to this breakthrough innovation. We look forward not only to using this process in our own medical device and therapeutic product development, but also to working with potential collaborators in the nanofiber space, both medical and non-medical.”
Electrospinning is a process whereby nanofibers are created from a liquid polymer solution. Current needle electrospinning techniques typically operate at flow rates between 1-10 mL/h, resulting in low throughput and deposition. In its presentation, Arsenal disclosed data showing that its high-throughput slit-surface electrospinning technology can generate the equivalent of several square meters of one millimeter thick core-sheath mesh per day, on a lab scale system. In addition, data presented by Arsenal indicate that the Company’s system is scalable, thereby potentially increasing throughput significantly more. Core-sheath nano- and microfibers offer highly tunable, well-controlled release kinetics for therapeutic molecules whose benefit-risk ratio requires local rather than systemic delivery.
“Interest in utilizing nanofibers for medical and other industrial applications continues to grow, and fibers with core-sheath morphology offer unique possibilities in this arena. However, low production rates have long been perceived to be a shortcoming of the electrospinning technology for this purpose,” said Gregory C. Rutledge, Lammot du Pont Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Arsenal’s technology appears to increase significantly the production rates for core-sheath nanofibers. This achievement may well open the door to a new class of innovative medical devices that take advantage of the unique properties of core-sheath electrospun nanofibers. Areas that may potentially benefit from this new technology include drug delivery, tissue engineering and nanoscale sensors.”
Arsenal’s slit-surface high-throughput electrospinning technology is being developed with support from a three-year, $2.3M cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP). TIP is a merit-based, competitive program that promotes technological innovation by providing funding support to transformative, high-risk, high-reward research projects that address critical national needs. Arsenal was one of only nine companies selected from over 100 applicants for this program in 2010.