CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund is Investing in Skyphos Technologies
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced that its Virginia Founders Fund has invested an undisclosed amount in Roanoke’s Skyphos Technologies.
Skyphos is the developer of a 3D-printing process for microfluidics testing (the science of manipulating and controlling fluids) using Lab on a Chip devices to produce different medical outcomes and collect data for ailments. This process is supposed to help researchers decrease development time and costs when bringing new medical tests to market. Skyphos said it plans on using this investment from CIT to further develop its second generation of 3D printers and to hire people who specialize in advanced manufacturing and computer programming.
“The ability to fast-track a potentially game changing idea into a prototype with limited delays is going to have a tremendous impact on both 3D printing and medical device industries, and we look forward to being part of Skyphos’ disruptive journey,” Jennifer O’Daniel, investment director at CIT GAP Funds, said in a statement.
Skyphos hopes to steer the biotech industry away from mold-based manufacturing since its 3D printers can fabricate devices using a specialized material. Elliot McAllister, CEO and CTO of Skyphos, said that science is limited because of the manufacturing process when it comes to creating prototypes.
“Semi-conductor to molds and stamping were initially needed, but this has slowed down innovation over the last five to 10 years and in some cases, has kept innovations from market,” McAllister said in the news release. “It’s time to move beyond the slow, expensive, inflexible processes of clean-rooms, wafers and molds. Skyphos eliminates close to 99% of the traditional development cycle.”
The biotech startup said it hopes to release its printers and custom materials in the 12 to 18 months, but its prototyping service is already available for use.
CIT launched the Virginia Founders Fund last year to increase access to capital for startups founded by women, people of color and veterans with an emphasis on investing in companies based outside Northern Virginia. The fund is a part of the CIT Gap Funds family, and also recently invested in Bristol, Virginia-based Micronic Technologies, a developer of sustainable water purification technology.