FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2021
Two Aiken County research and development companies have teamed up to advance cutting-edge technology. SpheroFill, LLC recently received a STTR award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research medical applications of technology from the Applied Research Center, Inc. The research grant is titled Porous Walled Hollow Glass Microspheres (PWHGMs): A Novel Sustained Drug Delivery Platform with Unique Flexible Capabilities. Originally developed by the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) for strategic purposes, the technology was improved upon by ARC and modified for drug delivery and other purposes. SpheroFill and ARC, Inc. both located at the Aiken County-owned Savanah River Research Campus are jointly advancing medical applications of the PWHGMs. The National Science Foundation award will allow the organizations to research potential commercial applications of the PWHGMs as an innovative drug delivery platform. Dr. George Wicks will be SpheroFill’s principal investigator working in conjunction with ARC researchers. Dr. Wicks is the co-inventor of The Porous Wall Hollow Glass Microspheres while serving as senior scientist at SRNL. Dr. Wicks is Chief Technology Officer for ARC and similar role at SpheroFill.
The Porous Wall Hollow Glass Microspheres are one-third the size of a human hair or around 20-40 microns. The spheres are unique in that they contain channels or pores through which various materials, liquids, gases or solids, can pass into the hollow void of the sphere. These materials, or “cargoes” can then be released by various means. The NSF STTR Phase 1 award will determine the optimum loading of the spheres, the best programmed release coatings, cargo release dynamics and efficacy of the drug delivery platform. Dr. William D. Hill, CoPrincipal Investigator, SpheroFill Chief Scientific Officer and Professor at MUSC, will coordinate the Medical University of South Carolina’s microsphere coating and release studies and evaluate the efficacy of the drug delivery platform. The period of research is twelve months beginning June 1, 2021. A successful completion of the Phase 1 research could lead to a Phase II award in partnership with pharmaceutical companies.
Both ARC and SpheroFill have long been involved in researching potential medical applications of the microspheres. The $250,000 NSF award will allow locally-developed technology to make an impact of the lives of many with an innovative drug delivery platform.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said “This funding will allow SpheroFill, LLC to create advancements in the medical field, and I appreciate NSF working to help turn this into a reality.”
Congressman Joe Wilson commented, “This grant through the National Science Foundation
(NSF) acknowledges and continues to build upon the success of our regional research and development infrastructure. The synergy between Spherofill, the Applied Research Center, and the Savannah River National Laboratory has allowed this research to gain momentum, providing transformative opportunities in medical treatments. I am grateful that NSF recognized and rewarded the talent here in our community.”
Dr. Paul Weinberger, President of SpheroFill, LLC said, “This phase I grant is an important milestone for the SpheroFill team. For a startup biotechnology company, getting a competitive small business innovation grant from a federal research institute is a critical ‘stamp of approval.’ It says that an independent panel of scientists believe the technology is worthy of the government’s investment.” Dr. Weinberger went on to say, “Traditionally, the NSF only funds the truly revolutionary technologies that can transform some aspect of society. In this case, the NSF sees the possibility that SpheroFill and ARC’s core technology could revolutionize drug delivery and enable treatments that today are impossible.”
Mr. Fred E. Humes, President and CEO of the Applied Research Center, Inc said, “This NSF award will allow us to work cooperatively with SpheroFill to take our microsphere technology to a new level. ARC has worked for several years to fabricate a microsphere that will meet the demands of medical applications and now we have the opportunity to put our research to work”. He added, “The advancement of technology would not have been possible without the laboratory facilities of the Aiken County research campus and their foresight and commitment to technology advancement.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense … ” NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future’. With an annual budget of $8.5 billion (FY 2021), NSF is the funding source for approximately 25 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
SpheroFill, LLC is a Limited Liability Company with headquarters at 301 Gateway Drive, Aiken, SC 29802. The company was established with the sole purpose of using their medical and research scientist expertise to combat debilitating diseases and improve the lives of all people. The company has concentrated on using microspheres as a drug delivery platform to address difficult treatment regimens. The company has several patents in various medical fields.
The Applied Research Center, Inc. is a non-profit affiliate of the Economic Development Partnership with offices at 301 Gateway Drive, Aiken, SC. The company was formed in 2014 to advance technologies from the Savannah River National Laboratory and academic institutions. ARC’s primary research areas are glass microspheres, hybrid microwave technology and hydrogen energy. ARC holds patents in the medical and anti-counterfeiting applications of hollow glass microspheres and hybrid microwave.
For more information contact:
Dr. Paul Weinberger, SpheroFill
PaulWeinberger@gmail.com | 706.251.0080
Fred E. Humes, Applied Research Center, Inc.
Humes@discoverARC.com | 803.215.0605