Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division

2014 Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success, Awarded to Joseph M. DeSimone, Jayson P. Rolland, and Ben W. Maynor


Ben W. Maynor, Joseph M. DeSimone, and Jason P. Rolland (pictured left to right) with Kathryn C. Hach (center), winners of the 2014 Kathryn C. Hach award for Entrepreneurial Success, are recognized for their work in commercializing PRINT nanoparticle technology by founding and developing Liquidia technologies. Liquidia uses PRINT nanotechnology to specifically tailor nanoparticles to address several different areas in medicine including vaccines and inhaled drugs.


 

In modern medicine, the use of nanoparticles for diagnostic and therapeutic applications shows burgeoning promise for improving human health.  However, historically it has been difficult to create biocompatible nanoparticles with precise control over parameters such as size and shape, let alone to fabricate tailored, uniform nanoparticles at a large scale.  Professor Joseph DeSimone and colleagues were the first to achieve the ability to mass produce precisely defined nanoparticles for applications in medicine and beyond.  With the leadership of the core team of DeSimone, Jason Rolland, and Benjamin Maynor, PRINT technology was born and successfully commercialized. 

PRINT (Particle Replication In Nonwetting Templates) joins nano-manufacturing processes found in the computer industry with the continuous, roll-to-roll web based processes from the photographic film industry to enable the scalable fabrication of tailored nanoparticles for therapeutic applications.  PRINT allows for the simultaneous control of particle attributes such as size, shape, flexibility, chemical composition, and surface chemistry, as well as the ability to produce these precisely engineered, uniform particles at a commercially relevant scale.  DeSimone, Rolland, and Maynor led the development of PRINT from an idea to a successful platform technology licensed to Liquidia Technologies, founded based on their discoveries.  Liquidia is now addressing shortcomings of current vaccine product technologies, including an inability to optimally balance safety and efficacy while maintaining affordability.  Liquidia moved its first product, a seasonal flu vaccine, from concept to clinic in a mere 18 months.  In 2012, Liquidia and GlaxoSmithKline announced a large collaboration focused on using PRINT along with GSK’s library of proprietary therapeutic compounds to develop promising vaccine and inhaled products for the prevention and treatment of serious health conditions.  Additionally, Liquidia has a partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative toward the development of a next-generation malaria vaccine.  Applications of PRINT are also being explored for new cancer therapies.  With PRINT and Liquidia, DeSimone, Rolland, and Maynor have unlocked new potential in applying nanotechnology in medicine to improve human health.

Joseph M. DeSimone is the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemical Engineering at NC State University and of Chemistry at UNC-CH. He is also an Adjunct Member at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. DeSimone has made breakthrough contributions in green chemistry, fluoropolymer synthesis, colloid science, and nano-biomaterials. Currently his main area of focus is nanomedicine. Known for bridging different fields to innovate in new areas, DeSimone fused precision manufacturing processes found in the microelectronics industry with continuous, roll-to-roll web based processes from the photographic film industry to invent the Particle Replication In Nonwetting Templates (PRINT) technology in 2004. PRINT enables the fabrication of precisely defined nanoparticles with control over chemical composition, size, shape, deformability, and surface chemistry. DeSimone has published over 300 scientific articles and holds over 140 patents. He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received over 50 major awards including the 2014 ACS Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success; the 2012 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation by Sigma Xi; the 2010 AAAS Mentor Award in recognition of efforts to advance diversity in the chemistry PhD workforce; the NIH Director's Pioneer Award; the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, and the ACS Award for Creative Invention. DeSimone has co-founded companies including Micell Technologies, Bioabsorbable Vascular Solutions, and Liquidia Technologies. DeSimone received his BS in Chemistry from Ursinus College in 1986 and his PhD in Chemistry from Virginia Tech in 1990.

Dr. Jason Rolland is currently the Vice President of Materials at EIPI Systems, a revolutionary 3D printing company co-founded by Prof. Joseph DeSimone. His areas of expertise include: polymer synthesis and characterization; photopolymerization; fluoropolymers; surface chemistry and analytics; nanofabrication; particle characterization; microfluidics; point-of-care diagnostics; drug delivery; roll-to-roll processing; and entrepreneurship. From 2010-2014, he served as Senior Director of Research at Diagnostics For All, a not-for-profit diagnostics company located in Cambridge, MA, founded by Prof. George Whitesides. From 2004-2010, Dr. Rolland served as Co-founder and ultimately Director of R&D at Liquidia Technologies. A co-inventor of the PRINT® platform, he led numerous multi-disciplinary projects including: the fabrication of solvent-compatible microfluidics for chemical synthesis; large-scale reel to reel fabrication of nanoparticles; and the development of novel vectors for siRNA delivery in collaboration with Abbott Laboratories. Dr. Rolland has a B.S. in Chemistry from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Rolland has received the National Starch & Chemical Company Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry (2007), The SLAS innovation award (2014), and the Kathyrn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success (2014). He currently lives in Belmont, MA with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Quinn (age 8) and Madelyn (age 6).

Dr. Benjamin Maynor currently serves as the Vice President and Executive Director of Research at Liquidia Technologies, a nanotechnology company in the Research Triangle Park, NC that focuses on the production of drug delivery systems for ophthalmology, vaccines, and pulmonary therapeutics. As part of his responsibilities he leads Liquidia’s programs for small molecule/biologic drug delivery. Ben is a co-inventor of Liquidia's PRINT technology. He joined Liquidia in 2005 and has initiated several new technology initiatives at Liquidia, including programs in ophthalmology, respiratory drug delivery, and other therapeutic areas. He received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Duke University, where he focused on nanofabrication, nanostructure synthesis and materials chemistry. He also holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard University. He has co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of nanotechnology, colloid science, and drug delivery and has been a co-inventor on several patents and patent applications in the fields of nanotechnology and drug delivery.

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