Biotech startup Nanopareil announces big new investment

South Dakota biotech startup Nanopareil LLC is closing an approximately $1 million investment round to help bring its technology to market.

The company was launched in 2010 out of research at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. It produces ultra-high-capacity, single-use nanofiber membranes and 3-D nanofiber scaffolds for the biopharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

Nanopareil’s patented nanotechnology and proprietary functional treatments provide outstanding purification capabilities and transformative 3-D tissue-engineering scaffolds.

“We are in the business of enabling biopharmaceutical companies to lower their cost to produce and purify drugs and vaccines,” CEO Craig Arnold said.

“We have so much capacity at the nano scale that we can reduce their costs by more than 80 percent, and a purification cycle that would normally take 80 hours can be reduced to less than eight hours.”

Nanopareil is beginning limited production of its devices that will be sold to the biopharmaceutical and blood industry and used in the purification of monoclonal antibodies, vaccines and blood products, collectively known as biopharmaceuticals.

In addition to its ion-exchange products, the company offers customized solutions to its clients.

“It’s truly a breakthrough technology,” Arnold said. “This investment round will help us bring product to a select audience of customers that we’re already working with. We’re not releasing the product to the open market at this point, but we’ve gone from proof of concept to small-scale production.”

One of the latest investors in Nanopareil is South Dakota Equity Partners, a fund comprised of seasoned institutional investors, including banks, corporations, university foundations, economic development corporations, family offices and individuals. It was created as the result of an initiative started in 2015 by the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“We’ve been tracking them for a couple years and are encouraged by what we see,” said Blaine Crissman, CEO of South Dakota Equity Partners.

“They have multiple industries reaching out to them. They’ve secured previous institutional investment from Black Hills Angel Fund. National Science Foundation grants have helped verify their work, and they have a clear line of development in the business and technology to support our investment,” he said.

“Craig Arnold and Dr. Todd Menkhaus, from the School of Mines are involved in the company and the management team they’re recruiting really got us interested. Nanopareil is the perfect example of technologies developed in the South Dakota university system that need growth equity to support commercialization.”

Crissman will join the company’s board of directors.

“He believes in our technology and our team and where this is headed,” Menkhaus said.

Nanopareil was named “the buzz of BIO” at the international BIO convention in 2017, the result of a public vote choosing it as the winner in the “technologies of tomorrow” category and was also the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision winner in 2014.

“Nanopareil has amazing potential for growth, and we’re excited to see them secure this latest investment,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “They are making a name for themselves already with major corporations in multiple industries, and we expect to see exciting developments from them in the future.”

The company has lab and production space in Rapid City and at the School of Mines. It’s also opening a lab in Sioux Falls at Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

“Everything is happening very quickly,” Arnold said. “We’re now on both sides of the state. We’re looking to add staff. We have a solid team now, and as these projects come in, we’ll need to staff up to manage them.”

He anticipates manufacturing could be done in South Dakota.

“We are producing our product internationally, and we’re ramping up our domestic production. We plan to continue both offshore and domestic production.”

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