T&T Scientific, a medical technology company owned by MABE alumni Graham Taylor and Nima Tamaddoni, has a new home in Halls. An open house and ribbon cutting ceremony was held in February to celebrate the move to the 15,000 square foot facility.
Taylor and Tamaddoni met as doctoral students in MABE while working with artificial cell membranes in Assistant Professor Andy Sarles’ research lab. They became research teammates and worked together to solve problems and frustrations they had with some of their lab tools. This led to the pair becoming business partners and founding T&T Scientific in 2015, one year before Tamaddoni and Graham graduated with their PhD in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, respectively.
Funds the team won in pitch competitions, including the Boyd Venture Challenge, helped launch the sale of their first product, the LipX Extruder, the world’s first single-use disposable lipsome extruder, which they manufactured in Tamaddoni’s apartment.
A lipsome is a spherical vesicle that is made out of the same building blocks as a cell membrane and can be used as a vehicle to administer nutrients and pharmaceutical drugs.
Producing liposomes is usually time consuming, expensive, and prone to contamination, but T&T Scientific’s devices are cheaper and ensure cleanliness and sterility while reducing the overall time of use from 45-60 minutes to two minutes.
Nanosizers are now the company’s main product, used to make tiny liposomes, which are used in academic research, drug delivery, cosmetics, food, and pharmaceuticals.
“Think about chemotherapy. Current chemo agents are extremely harmful to the human body because they’re toxic. It’s akin to poison,” said Tamaddoni. “But with the ability to tailor the design and architecture of liposomes that encapsulate and hold the chemo agent, drugs can be delivered more directly to the cancerous tumor, causing less damage to healthy tissues.”
The company launched a small scale and large scale automated extrusion device in 2017 and an additional machine with a different volume capacity in 2018.
They also offer in-house lipsome manufacturing and research for anyone who doesn’t want to purchase the equipment.
T&T Scientific now has over 1,000 customers in over 45 countries and are setting up distributors in 25 countries. They moved to their new larger facility to expand their analytical capabilities and contract research and manufacturing services.
“It’s exciting, but not at all surprising, to see Graham and Nima’s young company gaining momentum so quickly,” said Sarles. “They have smartly positioned T&T Scientific to become a leader in the development, assembly, and characterization of liposome nanoparticles for drug-delivery, and their new facility will certainly support their growth and greatly enhance their production capabilities. As their PhD advisor, I was lucky to get to know and work with them during their graduate careers and was routinely impressed by their technical capabilities, creativity, and work ethic. They are great people, and great representatives of MABE, TCE, and UTK.”
“To have the company become so successful feels absolutely great,” said Tamaddoni “It’s just a start for us. We have several plans to continue growing the company every day, and with the same speed.”
The new facility is only a short drive to UT and ORNL, and Taylor and Tamaddoni are going to use the location to their advantage.
“The amount of supportive knowledge and high-end facility in ORNL and UT is a key part of our future plans, and we will continue working closely with different labs in both of these institutions,” added Tamaddoni.
They already have plans to work with Sarles at UT and Dr. John Katsaras and Dr. Pat Collier at ORNL-CNMS on Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects.
The company wants to expand their footprint in more countries, institutions, and companies, and make East Tennessee one of the top world leaders for nanotechnology in medicine and nutrition.
They are working to pass the regulatory burden and become a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and ISO certified to be able to expand their relationships with clients in the pharmaceutical and food institutions.