MedicalMicro 3D printingMoney & FundingStartup and Incubators

Opt Industries receives funding to develop micro-scale technologies

Metamaterials and products for a range of different industries

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OPT Industries, the manufacturing technology startup behind the InstaSwab high-efficacy medical applicator, has raised $15 million in Series A financing led by global science- and technology-driven venture capital firm Northpond Ventures with participation from existing investors Crosslink Capital and the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund. The funding will go towards the development of metamaterials and products for a range of different industries.

Opt Industries receives funding to develop micro-scale technologies. Metamaterials and products for a range of different industries.
InstaSwab roll-to-roll 3D photolithography process

OPT Industries’ proprietary additive manufacturing system — built upon over seven years of R&D in 3D printing and computational fabrication at MIT— enables the 3D printing of continuous materials and products at unlimited lengths with micron-level precision. At the heart of the system is RAMP, OPT’s flagship technology and the world’s first roll-to-roll 3D printing platform.

“As an advanced manufacturing company, we see the value in building micro-scale technologies that solve macro-scale challenges,” said Jifei Ou, founder and CEO of OPT. “OPT works with customers to design and manufacture a novel range of metamaterials and products for the healthcare, automotive, cosmetics, and consumer goods industries, and beyond. We will leverage the new financing to address the demand for InstaSwab, fuel product development, scale operations, and grow the team.”

InstaSwab

Spun out of MIT, OPT quickly scaled up its technology during the pandemic to design and manufacture the InstaSwab novel nasal swab for COVID-19 testing. Found to be up to 20 times more effective in bacterial sample elution and significantly more effective in viral sample elution for COVID-19 testing, the InstaSwab soon took off.

“In the field of material science, metamaterials is a fast-developing area that holds enormous untapped potential,” said Andrea Jackson, Director at Northpond Ventures. “OPT’s platform is uniquely capable of designing materials with advanced properties and superior performance across a range of applications including absorption, cushion, insulation, and more. The InstaSwab — made of precisely engineered fibrous structures, each thinner than a human hair — exemplifies one of the standout innovations in novel metamaterials. OPT’s technology enabled the design of a more sensitive medical diagnostic test, resulting in real-world impact on patient care.”

Opt Industries receives funding to develop micro-scale technologies. Metamaterials and products for a range of different industries.
OPT’s 3D cushion material

In addition to the financing news, UK-based LumiraDx, a next-generation point of care diagnostics company, has added InstaSwab to the company’s list of approved nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing. InstaSwab is the first 3D printed swab to make the list.

“OPT is a prime example of the next generation of manufacturing and how it will have a material impact on building the supply chain of tomorrow,” said Phil Boyer, Partner at Crosslink Capital. “With technology that can enable rapid iterative design, end-to-end automated manufacturing, and continuous locally produced materials for such a wide range of applications, OPT is fast becoming a critical component for supply chain resilience.”

Opt Industries receives funding to develop micro-scale technologies. Metamaterials and products for a range of different industries.
OPT’s 3D spacer fabric

Focusing on the end-use product rather than selling its equipment, late last year, OPT Industries built out a new 14,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Medford, Mass., prompted by the demand for InstaSwab. Drawing upon their experience with high volume product manufacturing, the team is creating a state-of-the-art additive manufacturing site that provides commercial-scale supply for applications beyond medical devices alone.

“The rapid pace at which OPT has moved its technology from lab to market has been remarkable,” said Habib Haddad, Managing Partner at E14 Fund. “Within months of the company’s spinout of MIT, OPT quickly found its way across healthcare and testing organizations nationwide. Amid growing demand by Fortune 500 companies and market leaders for OPT’s products, the 3D printing system that Jifei has pioneered has unlocked an entirely new paradigm for product creation from inception to manufacturing.”

Research 2021
Ceramic AM Market Opportunities and Trends

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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