Plasma Bionics LLC, a veterinary sterilization device manufacturing company founded by former students while studying at Oklahoma State University, was recently highlighted at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities’ third annual University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase.
Plasma Bionics was founded in March 2012 and launched its first product in October 2020, the V10 Air Plasma Sterilizer. This product is the first of its kind and uses the company’s proprietary Air Plasma Sterilization™ process. Using just air and electricity, the V10 Air Plasma Sterilizer produces a mixture of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that rapidly kill microorganisms on the surfaces of veterinary instruments. After the sterilization process is complete, that device converts the sterilant gases back into harmless air.
“Our patented cold plasma generation technology allows rapid sterilization of critical veterinary surgical instruments at low temperature, with no water or harmful chemicals, and relatively low power input,” said co-founder Dr. Kedar Pai.
“This device is poised to replace the dangerous ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilizers for critical instrument sterilization at a fraction of the cost,” Pai said. “Further, air plasma sterilization is environmentally friendly and safe to operate.”
The Innovation and Entrepreneurship showcase took place virtually on Dec. 7-11 and spotlighted 22 startups from across the nation that have created products and services using federally funded, university-based research.
Startups in the showcase were chosen by a selection committee of innovation experts who considered the level of student engagement in the startup, the strength of its technology and its connection to research.
“The federal research that public universities undertake is foundational to innovation and economic growth,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “This research spurs life-changing new technologies, life-saving new medical therapies and can even launch entirely new industries. Federal investment is a cornerstone to building a more healthy and prosperous society. These startups illustrate the critical importance of federal investment in university-based research.”
“The technology Plasma Bionics is using was originally developed at OSU to help prevent aircraft from stalling by applying the plasma generation technology over the surfaces of aircraft wings to help in flow control,” Pai said.
“The decontamination and sterilization application were researched and developed through sponsored research investments while still a project at OSU,” said co-founder Dr. Chris Timmons. “Later development milestones were completed as Plasma Bionics licensed the OSU technology and receiving follow-on seed investment from Cowboy Technologies LLC and grant funding from the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science & Technology’s (OCAST) Oklahoma Applied Research Support (OARS) program.”
Cowboy Technologies LLC was organized in 2011 as a for-profit, limited liability company owned by the OSU Research Foundation to help commercialize university technology through startup companies.
“The Cowboy Technologies mission runs parallel with that of Oklahoma State University’s land-grant mission of taking university research from ‘campus to community,’” said Daniel Will, executive director of Cowboy Technologies. “Plasma Bionics is a great example out of our portfolio of OSU technologies and teams translating invention into commercial reality. The successful startup company assembled a great co-founding team, raised investment capital and was awarded commercial grant funding when it was needed, and received sound business coaching and advice throughout the process. We look forward to big things to come for Plasma Bionics.”
“For Plasma Bionics, the initial investment and ongoing business advisory services by Cowboy Technologies helped accelerate the new application of the underlying technology toward a real-world sterilization solution,” Pai said.
OSU’s technology commercialization ecosystem positioned Plasma Bionics to raise a follow-on round of investment from a new group of angel investors that has propelled the launch of its initial product to market and early sales ramp, Pai said.
Plasma Bionics plans to grow as a manufacturer of sterilization equipment in the veterinary industry and beyond, Timmons said.
“The sterilization device performance data we receive from the veterinary market customers and third-party testers will be used to pursue an FDA 510(k) pre-market approval so a similar device can be used in the human medical and dentistry markets,” Pai said.
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