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CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund Invests in Skyphos Technologies to Advance the Development of 3D Printing for Microfluidics

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that the Virginia Founders Fund has invested in Roanoke, Va.-based Skyphos Industries, an innovator in the three-dimensional printer (3DP) and biotech spaces. Skyphos developed a new micro-3D printing process that enables researchers to by-pass several months of development  and hundreds of thousands of dollars when bringing new medical tests to market. Also known as Lab on a Chip (LOAC), these tests are the future of personalized and low cost medicine. Skyphos plans to use this investment from CIT GAP Funds to support the development of their second generation 3D printers, as well as the creation of new high-tech roles in advanced manufacturing, and computer programming jobs to the New River and Roanoke Valleys.

LOAC devices, about the size of a credit card, are an interest to medicine and science because of their rapid results, lower costs for reagents and ease of implementation. They are designed to allow a small sample to enter, mix, interact within tiny passages in the chip, and produce actionable data in real time for a variety of ailments. From diabetes to pregnancy testing and newer instant-read strep tests, microfluidics and LOAC are more common than many people realize. Until Skyphos, the only available manufacturing processes for LOAC devices took months to go from an idea to a mold – which is then used to create each device one at a time by hand, taking hours. To get to market, most devices are refined three to five times before clinical trials which slows down prototyping, and ultimately the discovery or implementation of new discoveries.

Skyphos’ 3D printer system is capable of fabricating devices out of a specialized clear bio-compatible polymer down to the microscopic details to help the industry move away from mold-based manufacturing. With their service, Skyphos allows production of these complex chips in minutes, and allows researchers to side-step delays and test ideas the week of inspiration. Skyphos has launched their rapid-prototyping service and plans to follow in 12-18 months with the release of their printer and custom materials.

To learn more about the investment, check out the whole announcement below.