SFC Fluidics Gets $1.4M for Mobile Drug Delivery Systems

September 19th, 2017 by Rebecca Norman

SFC Fluidics, based in Fayetteville, received a two-year, $1.4 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to further develop the min-ePump™ for implantable or wearable, wirelessly-controlled rapid-dosing drug delivery systems in small animals.

The funding is a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II award.

Current methods to deliver drugs and therapeutics to animals are limited to syringe injections by hand, time-released implants and tethering to a syringe pump.

“Our min-ePump will allow for tether- and syringe-free dosing as needed,” said Dr. Forrest Payne, principal investigator for SFC Fluidics.

The SFC Fluidics team (from left): Dr. Quian Sun, senior scientist; Dr. Forrest Payne, principal investigator; Anna Washburn, projects coordinator; and Dr. Bradley Ledden, senior engineer

Research Overview
The research and business development teams at SFC Fluidics are focused on addressing the limitations of current drug delivery systems. “We are developing a suite of microfluidic technologies that will revolutionize mobile drug delivery systems,” said Anna Washburn, SFC Fluidics’ projects coordinator.

min-ePump Advantages and Applications

The min-ePump will have numerous immediate advantages for at-home therapeutic delivery in veterinary applications. The advantages in human medicine will be to enable detailed and streamlined behavior-based research for pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) and drug addiction studies.

Additionally, the min-ePump will provide advantages for the development of a simple patch pump and artificial pancreas for people with diabetes. “This technology will allow for miniaturization that will offer people with diabetes a new level of convenience and discretion to manage the disease,” said Dr. Anthony Cruz, CEO of SFC Fluidics.

Other applications:

  • Ability to study the effects of drug abuse on group dynamics and social behavior in animal models – Animals will no longer need to be tethered or isolated for self-administration studies.
  • Ability to study the behavioral aspects of therapeutics with neurological effects – Improved efficacy of treatments for anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
  • Easy, at-home administration of therapeutics (such as antibiotics) to dogs and cats – No more arguments over pills!

Conversations with Potential Customers

During Phase I, the company participated in a NIH-sponsored I-Corps program which included more than 100 one-on-one customer interviews. These interviews involved the end user, the distribution channel, and potential strategic partners.

“Through the I-Corps program, SFC gained a deeper understanding of how research involving drug delivery would be improved by the proposed min-ePump,” said Payne.

ASBTDC Assistance

“In addition to providing market study information, ASBTDC staff completed an early review of our commercialization plan. The edits and comments of Rebecca Norman and her colleagues helped us to focus on weak points and gaps in logic. As a result, we were able to produce a commercialization plan that was very well-received by the NIH reviewers,” said Washburn.

Advice for NIH SBIR/STTR Phase II Applicants
SFC Fluidics recommends participating in one of the I-Corps or C3i programs during Phase I. “These customer centric experiences help a product development team to focus on end-user needs from the beginning,” said Payne.

Research reported in this release was supported by The National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under grant number [2R44DA041173-02]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.