AURORA, Colo., July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Impressio Inc. and MedShape Inc. have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $250,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on a new surgical treatment for hallux rigidus.
The goal of this research grant is to create the first arthroplasty device that uses a novel energy-absorbing material, liquid-crystal elastomer (LCE), to surgically treat hallux rigidus - a degenerative osteoarthritis of the MTP joint. Approximately 2.5% of people over 50 years old, which is roughly 2-3 million people in the U.S., develop hallux rigidus. By exploiting the LCE's inherent dissipative and anisotropic behavior, Impressio and MedShape will collaboratively develop an MTP joint replacement that better replicates the structural and biomechanical function of native cartilage while also reducing wear. The results of this work could also have broader potential use to treat arthritis in other joints in the foot, hand, and knee.
"NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering," said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. "With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs."
"We believe our innovative material can improve human life from head to toe. Back in 2017, we started by using our energy absorbing material in helmet liners and proved that it works in reducing impact to the head. After receiving this NSF SBIR Phase I award, we will be focusing on MTP joint as our first entry point into the body. Once we develop our MTP joint and successfully prove that our technology works in joint replacements, we will start focusing on knee and spine implants," said Amir Torbati, CSO and co-founder of Impressio.
"Being vetted by NSF is a great confirmation of our technology, but our team has been even more impressed with the NSF resources such as the I-Corps program that gave us an opportunity to gain valuable understanding of the medical device space," said Christopher Yakacki, CEO and co-founder of Impressio.
Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.
Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will know within three weeks if they meet the program's objective to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America's Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America's Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/
About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America's Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America's Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.
About Impressio, Inc.: Impressio Inc. is the first to develop a breakthrough in liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs) technology. The LCEs form a rubbery material that absorbs energy and dissipates it—a groundbreaking approach for medical implants and sports equipment such as helmet liners as it leads to improved health and safety of users.
About MedShape, Inc: MedShape, Inc. is a privately held medical device company developing and commercializing medical devices that use patented, advanced material technologies to address the demand for improved joint fusion and fracture fixation in foot and ankle surgeries. For more information, visit www.medshape.com.
MedShape Company Contact:
Kathryn Smith, Ph.D.
Impressio Company Contact:
Amir Torbati, Ph.D.
SOURCE MedShape, Inc.