By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
One of the three finalists for the “Traction Award” at last year’s “Startup Day Knoxville” was T & T Scientific, a company we profiled in this teknovation.biz article in early 2016. After getting an update from the Co-Founders, we understood just how fast they have come in less than two years.
“We launched sales of our extruder (cartridge) in March of 2016,” Nima Tamaddoni, Chief Executive Officer, reminded us. Today, the start-up not only sells the extruder, but also has three automated devices on the market, new office and assembly space in South Knoxville, and two additional employees.
More important, Tamaddoni and Graham Taylor, the other Co-Founder who also serves as the President and Chief Technology Officer, can focus full-time on their company now that their college studies have been completed.
“Business is more fluid and enjoyable,” the always smiling and outgoing Tamaddoni admitted.
When T & T Scientific launched its inaugural extrusion cartridge, it was the world’s first single-use and fully assembled liposome extrusion system. Now known as the NanoSizerTM, it was a fully-assembled extruder that allowed researchers to save a significant amount of time of assembly while also providing a contamination-free liposome extrusion system.
Today, the company also markets three different complementary devices.
“The machines were part of our plan to build automated equipment,” Taylor explained. T & T Scientific offers three versions, targeted at researchers and corporations with varying volume demands. They are:
- NanoSizerTM AUTO I, particularly beneficial to researchers who are engaged in small volume testing of one to 10 milliliters;
- NanoSizerTM AUTO II, a continuous extruder that is designed for volumes between 10 and 250 milliliters; and
- NanoSizerTMAUTO Plus that is a continuous extrusion platform for large scale, commercial operations like pharmaceutical companies manufacturing hundreds of liters.
The underlying technology that the three models employ is patent pending. All utilize the single use, fully-assembled NanoSizerTM extrusion cartridges around which Tamaddoni and Taylor launched the company.
T & T Scientific’s goal is to transform liposome production of small and large volume solutions alike, simplifying scale-up from the research laboratory to in-house pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Taylor explains the company’s business model by drawing a comparison to manufacturers of safety razors and razor blades. The NanoSizerTM AUTO devices are the razor, while the NanoSizerTM extrusion cartridges are the blades.
“We want to sell lots of extruders,” Taylor explains.
The start-up has been largely bootstrapped with the exception of a small investment from one individual, and that’s just fine with the Co-Founders.
“Things are going and growing well,” Taylor says, noting that the automated equipment opportunity “happened faster than we imagined.” Otherwise, he says T & T Scientific is not too far off what it pitched at the outset.
The company started worldwide distribution in mid-2017 and has more than 150 end users in more than 40 countries.
“We’ve been focusing primarily on the extrusion market, but there are other opportunities,” Taylor says. “We might be able to scale without outside investment.”