The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel , Md. , has signed an agreement with MIPSolutions, Inc., a start-up company headquartered in Las Vegas , granting it exclusive rights to the Lab's portfolio of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP) technologies, a class of synthetic polymers that may be tailored to selectively detect a particular substance.
Under the licensing agreement, MIPSolutions will be able to make, use, market and sell products incorporating the MIP technology. APL and MIPSolutions will soon begin developing the first of many applications related to the safety of drinking water. MIPSolutions also has secured the exclusive rights to the technology as it relates to waste water treatment and water-based mining operations using filtration, treatment, reclamation and extraction processes.
The licensed technology includes APL's approach to molecular imprinting, a technique for preparing synthetic polymers with recognition sites specific to a target molecule. Similar to how a key must be complementary to a lock in order to work, the shapes, sizes and functionalities of these artificially generated recognition sites are complementary to the target molecule, and are capable of rebinding target molecules in preference to other closely related structures. Similar complexes are made by our immune systems; however, MIPs are more robust, stable and resistant to a wide range of pH, humidity and temperature fluctuations than their biological counterparts. Additionally, the newest versions of these materials are less expensive and safer to produce, and can be physically and chemically manipulated to meet and exceed the demands of the current market.
Work with these synthetic compounds began in the 1950s and focused on silica gels. In the early 1990s, APL began exploring methods to incorporate MIPs into filters and sensors to meet the requests and requirements of their different sponsors. APL was able to demonstrate that their cutting edge filters were able to selectively and completely remove pre-determined chemicals and ions — outperforming existing techniques and devices.
"There are tremendous possibilities for molecularly imprinted polymers that are attracting a lot of attention," said Heather Curran, a technology and marketing manager at APL. "We are looking for commercial partners with a clear focus, strong leadership and commitment. MIPSolutions is one of those companies."
About MIPSolutions, Inc.
MIPSolutions was formed in 2005 to commercialize MIPs technology. Its first order of business is to develop a method for removing arsenic from drinking water. While working as a scientist at APL, Dr. Glen Southard, along with co-inventor Dr. George Murray, helped uncover the vast possibilities of this technology. Southard's special interest in arsenic contamination led to the founding of MIPSolutions. In joint pursuit of this goal the company sought and has now acquired additional rights to crucial technology developed by JHU/APL. Armed with this cutting-edge technology, MIPSolutions intends to focus on developing the commercial and industrial applications, first targeting large-scale municipal water treatment plants within the United States .
"We are excited about working with The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory under this license agreement for the purpose of commercializing this technology," said Michael T. Pieniazek, president and CEO of MIPSolutions.