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Home > Press > Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge 2007 Winners

The third edition of Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge 2007 has come to an end last Friday, 30th November 2007, with the announcements of the two winners of the two Grand Prizes of € 300.000 each.

Nanochallenge and Polymerchallenge 2007 Winners

Italy | Posted on December 10th, 2007

Nanotechnology category

2007 Winner: ANANAS Nanotech

ANANAS Nanotech has been awarded with the € 300.000 Grand Prize from Veneto Nanotech, the Italian Cluster for nanotechnology. It will start the operations within the Veneto region.

Core of the ANANAS Nanotech business idea is a proprietary technology for obtaining solution stable nanoparticles (ANANAS Nanoparticles, NA) applicable in several fields of nanomedicine. The vision is to transform the ANANAS technology into a successful business by deploying the technological advantages of the NAs into:

· In vitro diagnostic (IVD) tools for the detection of low content analytes;

· In vivo diagnostic (Imaging) tools and drug delivery (DD) systems capable of competing with the present blockbusters in the field.

Competitive advantage of ANANAS products relies on high product performance, low process costs and high market versatility.

The innovative ANANAS technology allows obtaining stable, fully biocompatible poly-avidin nanoparticles, with controllable and application-adaptable size (60-200 nm), by means of a highly reproducible and economic method of preparation based on a ‘Mother Nature' guided self-assembly process.

Such poly-avidin nanoparticles are able to improve the performance of current avidin-based technologies worldwide used in diagnostics and drug delivery.

With respect to current technologies, the NAs act as signal or drug concentrating elements with several advantages: within a diagnostic application, they act as ‘signal amplifiers' and enable detecting low concentrated analytes without the requirement of sophisticated instrumentation. Within the drug delivery field, they allow concentrating a potent drug to the target/diseased area while reducing its levels in other body compartments and consequently its toxicity.

Due to the nature of their components and the self-assembly guided formation, the NAs, for the first time, reunite in a single product multiple properties fundamental for application in nanomedicine: biocompatibility (necessary in drug delivery), nanoscaled size (necessary for solution stability in diagnostics and blood stream circulation in drug delivery), high versatility and low costs.

ANANAS Nanotech's team members have complementary skills with scientific and managerial backgrounds.

Margherita Morpurgo PhD has more than 15 years of experience in chemistry, biochemistry, avidin-biotin technology and drug delivery, with a training record that includes long term collaborations with major international research institutions and a current international network of collaborations.

The ANANAS technology was developed together with Mauro Pignatto and Deborah Teoli PhD, both pharmaceutical chemists with several years of research in biomedicine.

Nicola Realdon is an expert in drug formulation and holds significant expertise in production, quality assurance and regulatory affairs acquired in pharma industries.

Davide Merlin is a business consultant his core skills include business start-up strategy, operational and financial turnaround, business planning and market analysis. He experienced 5 years in Bain&Co, working in ‘private equity' and ‘consumer goods' teams, and is now partner in Valorando, a consulting firm for local FMEs.

Paolo Gubitta PhD is expert in temporary management and organizational design and has a significant record of collaborations with several local enterprises.

Polymer-based materials category

2007 Winner: HYPUCEM

HYPUCEM has been awarded with the € 300.000 Grand Prize from IMAST, the Technological District on Polimeric and Composite Materials Engineering and Structures. It will start the operations within the Campania region.

HYPUCEM (Hybrid composite foams for lightweight and high performance elements in civil and industrial buildings) plans to introduce new lightweight hybrid cellular materials in the civil and industrial building construction market for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. HYPUCEM is a unique product which combines the properties of the plastic foams with the properties of the cement and/or inorganic binders. It looks like cement but its weight is 10 times lower than water. Moreover, the thermal and acoustic insulation properties of HYPUCEM are similar to those of polyurethane, the best materials available on the market. The product has been invented and patented by the researchers founding the company. Compared to other commercial foamed insulating materials, the patented product possesses both functional and/or structural properties, tunable water transport properties, better adhesion to inorganic binders, reduced application time and costs, higher flexibility in terms of shape and size of manufacts, use of materials from renewable resources. Applications include: heat and/or noise insulating panels for walls, floors and coverings, modular elements for the industrialized building systems, lightweight bricks and panels.

The patented hybrid material is based on the combination of organic polyurethane and inorganic binder. The expanded material is characterized by an interpenetrating structure of organic and inorganic binders that are hardened with water to achieve superior mechanical properties, the improvement of vapour permeability, the acoustic and thermal insulation, the adhesion to other inorganic substrates (concrete and mortar). The new materials have both cement and polymeric foam properties. In comparison with traditional composites, they exhibits both the inorganic binder properties (such as fire resistance, water vapour transpiration, good mortar concrete and plaster adherence) and polymeric foam properties (thermal and acoustic insulation)

The team of founders is formed by internationally recognized researchers in the field of material science and technology with a strong experience in developing products and technologies for industrial applications. The enthusiastic as well as the competitive spirit of the team is based on a good friendship coupled with a complementary technical competences. The scientific groups is completed by a marketing consultant.

Salvatore Iannace, Chairman: PhD in Materials and Industrial Technologies. 20 years of experience as researcher at CNR in Italy in the field of polymer science and technologies, and in particular in foaming technologies.

Marino Lavorgna: research scientist at CNR in Italy with experience on production of hybrid materials and nanostructured polymeric matrix by sol gel method.

Ernesto Di Maio: PhD in Material Science, assistant professor at the University of Naples in Italy. Research experience in foaming technology.

Letizia Verdolotti: graduated in Industrial Chemistry. PhD dissertation in 2007 on hybrid foamed materials

Pierluigi Stampacchia: Business consultant with over 5 years of experience in administration and finance (particulary grant strategy).


About Veneto Nanotech
Veneto Nanotech, the Italian Cluster of Nanotechnology, and IMAST, the Italian technological district on Engineering of polymeric and composite materials and structures, are launching the third new edition of Nanochallenge together with Polymerchallenge, an international business plan competition for the best project on nanotechnology and on advanced polymer-based materials.

Anybody anywhere with an innovative and high-growth nanotechnology or polymer-based materials business idea can participate and try to win one of the two Grand Prizes of €300,000 each.

For more information, please click here

Veneto Nanotech s.c.p.a.
Via San Crispino 106 - 35129 Padova
Tel. +39 049 7705500
Fax. +39 049 7705555

Copyright © Veneto Nanotech

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