Nanofiber Separations

Craig Arnold-Nanofiber Seperations-Minnesota BusinessIn this tech-driven age, universities increasingly serve as spawning grounds for promising startups. One example is Nanofiber Separations, founded in 2011 by Hao Fong and Todd Menkhaus, chemical engineering professors at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City.
The researchers have developed a “hyperefficient” filtration system made of nanofibers about 1,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair; a 12-inch square piece of the firm’s sticky nanofilter material might contain 5,000 miles of continuous, microscopic fiber. So far, the company has received one patent, with several pending, says CEO Craig Arnold, whose resume includes six years as director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Arnold says the technology will have important applications in several industries, including the manufacture of bio-pharmaceuticals and bio-tissue development, water purification and desalination, air purification, and aerospace. The company, mostly self-funded so far, will likely seek its first equity capital this year, according to Arnold.
Early last year, Nanofiber Separations Nanofiber Separations received a Small Business Innovation Research grant of more than $700,000 from the National Science Foundation. And it won the 2014 Governor’s Giant Vision Business Award, which included a $20,000 prize. Arnold says the firm is using the funds to scale up and begin pilot-manufacturing its custom-formulated nanofiber mats.
A relative newcomer to South Dakota, Arnold sees a state with “a lot of advantages in and of itself,” citing the state’s business-friendly tax structure and regulatory climate and a state government that encourages public-private partnerships and programs to help businesses grow. To help with its R&D efforts, Nanofiber Separations has used the state’s Dakota Seeds grant program to hire several student interns. Designed to promote internships, the program can provide 50 percent of an intern’s wages, with a maximum of $2,000 per intern.

NANOFIBER SEPARATIONS
Headquarters: Rapid City
Inception: 2012
Leadership: Hao Fong and Todd Menkhaus, cofounders;
Craig Arnold, CEO
Employees: 7
Revenue: Not disclosed
Description: Develops nanofiber filtration systems
Web: nanofiberseparations.com

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Making a Big Impact on Modern Medicine

Two professors at the South Dakota School of Mines are behind the technology for the start-up company “Nanofiber Separations,” and the research they are conducting at the school could ultimately have a big impact on modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Todd Menkhaus and Dr. Hao Fong are behind this technology, using tiny nano fibers that provide a highly efficient filtration mechanism.

This technology replaces all processing steps with a single step that can purify a material all at once, ultimately helping to reduce costs and waste.

The company recently won the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Competition and has received nearly $710,000 to help commercialize and produce nano fiber filters for lower cost pharmaceutical purification’s.

“Because we can offer a much lower cost of production opportunity for a company making the pharmaceutical product, the goal would be that those savings that the company creates by manufacturing it with our product, would be passed on to the consumer, you would end up with a low cost pharmaceutical that you would have to pay for,” said Dr. Todd Menkhaus, an Associate Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering at the School of Mines.

This technology can also be used for water and air purification, greatly reducing the cost and waste as well.

Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competition Winners Announced

Sioux Falls, SD – As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards Program, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry President David Owen announced the top winner of the 2014 business and student business competitions during the GOED Conference banquet in Sioux Falls.
After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to 10 qualifying business and 13 qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with day-long judging activities Tuesday, April 15 at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls.  The awards were presented as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) banquet with Governor Dennis Daugaard presenting the top prizes in both competitions.  The following were selected as the 2014 Governor’s Giant Vision winners.  Each includes the competitor’s “elevator pitch” that explains their business.

BUSINESS COMPETITION: 
The first place $20,000 winner was Nanofiber Separations, Craig Arnold and Dr. Todd Menkhaus, Rapid City 
Dr. Todd J. Menkhaus and Dr. Hao Fong co-founded Nanofiber Separations on the South Dakota School of Mines Campus in 2011.  Dr. Menkhaus leads separations analysis and characterization developments. Dr. Hao is a world expert in nanofiber electrospinning.  Craig Arnold joined the company as CEO in 2014.  Mr. Arnold leads the company’s commercialization efforts. read more

Tech companies dominate Giant Vision competition

Tech companies took top honors in the annual Governor’s Giant Vision competition.

The first-place $20,000 winner was Nanofiber Separations, the creation of Craig Arnold and Dr. Todd Menkhaus of Rapid City.

Nanofiber Separations produces cutting-edge separation media composed of functionalized nanofibers.

The nanofibers provide the opportunity to enhance process efficiencies and read more

2014 Governor’s Giant Vision winners announced

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards Program, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry President David Owen announced the top winner of the 2014 business and student business competitions during the Governor’s Office of Economic Development conference banquet in Sioux Falls, S.D. read more

Two Professors at SDSM&T Making Big Impact on Modern Medicine

Two professors at the South Dakota School of Mines are behind the technology for the start-up company “Nanofiber Separations,” and the research they are conducting at the school could ultimately have a big impact on modern medicine and the pharmaceutical industry. read more