After successfully making it through its initial round of preclinical trials, an Albuquerque dental startup developing a nanotechnology-based product wants to raise several million dollars for scaling and prototype development.
After successfully making it through its initial round of preclinical trials, an Albuquerque dental startup developing a nanotechnology-based product wants to raise several million dollars for scaling and prototype development. MNT SmartSolutions is working on an efficient way to keep teeth clean using magnetic nanoparticles that move toothpaste into areas where a toothbrush's bristles wouldn't normally reach. It's made with sustainable nanotechnology materials that Leisha Armijo-Martin, the chief technology officer for the startup, and her team of researchers are engineering.
Backed by just over $250,000 through a phase one National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer grant, MNT SmartSolutions recently completed its first round of preclinical trials, which Armijo-Martin said proved the efficacy of the startup's nanoparticle technology on live mice.
Those trials were the first time MNT SmartSolutions — a recently named Startup to Watch — has tested its nanotechnology in living creatures.
"It's a pretty high failure rate when you get to preclinical [trials]," Armijo-Martin said. "So, just knowing that we able to get passed that with efficacy and that we didn't see any adverse effects so far is huge.
"We had pretty exciting results," she added. "It seemed to totally knock out the inflammation in the gums, which is what we were hoping for in the animals."
Now, MNT SmartSolutions wants to take its tech into a second round of preclinical trials with two different animal species. If those are successful, it would help pave the way for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to conduct human clinical trials.
But to get there, the startup needs more money, Armijo-Martin said.
MNT SmartSolutions recently opened a series A investment round — a round typically aimed at helping proven startup companies grow — targeting $3 million. Andrea Garcia, the startup's chief operating officer, told Albuquerque Business First that money raised would go toward converting MNT SmartSolutions to a Ccorp., developing a prototype of the startup's nanotechnologybacked toothpaste and starting on some small-batch manufacturing.
Job creation is also part of MNT SmartSolutions' plans. ArmijoMartin, the chief technology officer, said the company would need "at least 30 people just to run the [research and development] operation." That hiring would scale up over the next few years, she said. Currently, the startup has four staff, around a dozen students who help with lab work and a few scientific consultants.
To help find investors for the ongoing investment round, MNT SmartSolutions is heading to Boston for the 2023 Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference, which aims to connect early-stage startups with investment and channel partners, according to its website.
Depending on how the startup's meetings with potential investors at the conference go, Garcia, MNT SmartSolutions' chief operating officer, said the company would look to close the series A round before the end of the year.
Established in 2019, MNT SmartSolutions is backed by the New Mexico Start-Up Factory, an organization that helps startups commercialize lab technologies, and received $25,000 through a state of New Mexico science and technology grant in late January.
" MNT SmartSolutions.... is building a remote-controlled, magnetic toothpaste and toothbrush that injects anti-bacterial solutions into the nooks and crannies of gums and teeth " - Albuquerque Journal
“There’s lots of innovation at UNM and among local companies and entities, but not many opportunities to all gather in one place,” Prossnitz told the Journal. “This brings everyone together to connect and maybe inspire more investment in new and existing companies that can market cutting-edge technology to improve health care.”
The BioVenture partnership is one of many programs and initiatives underway at UNM to help pull emerging technology from lab to marketplace, reflecting a vibrant local startup ecosystem that UNM and the New Mexico Startup Factory are now working to spread to other research universities in the western U.S. through a new, $3.25 million grant that the National Institutes of Health approved in September. Under the three-year grant, the partners expect to educate and mentor faculty on the fundamentals of technology transfer at 11 universities in seven states: New Mexico, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. - Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
"A remote-controlled, magnetic toothpaste and toothbrush that injects anti-bacterial solutions into the nooks and crannies of gums and teeth could soon hit the market, thanks to novel nanotechnology developed at the University of New Mexico." - Albuquerque Journal
The main purpose of this project is to commercialize a novel, interactive toothpaste and toothbrush combination based on the miracle of nanotechnology. Our nanocomposites can be used to treat and prevent microbial growth and plaque formation in the mouth, be targeted to an infected area (including below the gum line) and exert instantaneous and sustained-release effects. This smart toothpaste can be remotely controlled, switched on and off, move, scrub, and generate heat when used in combination with the interactive toothbrush. This product has the potential to revolutionize the oral care industry, which has remained unchanged for as long as most people can remember.
UNM researchers have had not one, but two, nanotechnology breakthroughs with commercial applications.
One team, headed by nano materials engineer Leisha Armijo-Martin, has developed a remote-controlled, magnetic toothpaste and toothbrush that injects anti-bacterial solutions into the nooks and crannies of gums and teeth. The product is still under development, but a newly created startup, MNT SmartSolutions LLC, is working to put it on store shelves in the next few years. .MNT is one of 15 local companies formed by the New Mexico Startup Factory, which launched 10 years ago to commercialize new technologies from the state’s research universities and national laboratories. The Startup Factory recently signed a license agreement to market the MNT technology with UNM’s Rainforest Innovations, which manages the university’s tech-transfer and economic development programs. - Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
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