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New Member Spotlight: Advanced Silicon Group

“Advanced Silicon Group (ASG) is driven by a passion to use its silicon nanotechnology to improve people’s lives.  We are especially motivated by applications in regenerative medicine (RM) where the impact in saving lives and improving the quality of life can be profound,” said Bill Rever, co-founder and Chief Marketing & Sales Officer at ASG.

ASG is an unusual start-up for many reasons including the fact that their founders have many decades of experience in various industries outside of biotech including: semiconductors, intellectual property strategy, optics, materials, and marketing. 

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“We hope to work with those at ARMI where we can utilize our diverse backgrounds to help advance RM and increase its adoption in clinical practice,” said Rever.

Headquartered in Lincoln, MA, ASG was founded in 2015 by Marcie Black and Bill Rever to commercialize the silicon nanotexturing technology which Black and her team developed at her prior company Bandgap Engineering. ASG now owns the IP portfolio developed by Bandgap Engineering which includes approximately 30 patents. 

The initial application of the technology in solar photovoltaics is now in broad commercial use in a diverse set of products and ASG licenses and consults in many fields that benefit from the applications for this technology including: photovoltaics, Li-ion batteries, microfluidics, MEMS, among others.  

Rever, who leads ASG’s commercial activities said, “When we began attending meetings and making contacts in the biopharma field last year and were introduced to ARMI via contacts.  We became members and are looking forward to attending BioFabUSA events this year,” he added, “ASG is hoping to gain knowledge of the different aspects of RM.  This will help us to develop products that have the greatest value to those working in the field.  We’re also looking forward to making contacts that will lead to mutually beneficial relationships with other members.”

Nanoware vs. traditional solar cell.

Nanoware vs. traditional solar cell.

ASG’s core technology is the texturing of silicon using metal enhanced etching to produce silicon nanowire arrays.  The unique capabilities of this technology are the controllability of the height, diameter, and density of the nanowires, uniformity over large surfaces, reproducibility, and production via large-scale, low-cost industrial processes (wet chemistry at atmospheric pressure).

“We began developing the application of our technology in biosensors a couple of years ago and we are now focusing those efforts on developing biosensors for the detection of host cell proteins (HCPs) in biopharmaceutical manufacturing with our initial focus on regenerative medicine,” continued Rever.

Once completed, ASG’s biosensors will provide quick and inexpensive quantitative measurements of HCPs in total and specific HCPs during the manufacturing of biological materials used in regenerative medicine.  “We believe this capability will increase quality and reduce costs, ultimately improving both the pace of research and patient outcomes,” according to Rever.

“We’re new to the RM field, so our views on what the ‘breakthroughs’ in RM will be in the short-term are from that unique perspective; but we’re anticipating growth in all areas from tissue engineering to cell therapy and find 3-d printing of structures particularly exciting,” he continued, “ASG does feel that establishing the safety and efficacy of therapies to be used clinically seems to be a major barrier to the adoption of RM and we hope to be able to help improve therapies in both of those respects by reducing the presence of undesirable HCPs in biological products used in RM.”

Last year, ASG in collaboration with the University of Iowa, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to conduct research and development work on using silicon nanowire arrays for the sensitive and simultaneous detection of multiple biomarkers for the identification of lung cancer by a blood sample.  Recently, ASG has been awarded a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for measuring the concentration of host-cell proteins in biomanufacturing using silicon nanowire array sensors with Akron Biotech, also an ARMI member, as a major subcontract partner.”

“We hope to bring both a new technology in our biosensors as well as a different set of experiences and perspectives by not only providing a platform technology but with an ability to operate across a number of quite different industries,” Rever noted, concluding, “ASG believes this will be the decade in which many RM treatments make the transition from ‘bench to bedside’ –it is an exciting time.”

For more information about Advanced Silicon Group, visit their site here.