Company's strides highlighted as part of 'Startup Day'

Aug 1, 2017
Originally published on August 1, 2017 6:02 pm

A local manufacturer’s advances were celebrated Tuesday as part of Startup Day Across America.

SiMPore Inc., a nanotechnology company that designs and produces membranes, showcased two projects it’s developing.

James Roussie, SiMPore's chief scientific officer, said one involves developing filters to enable a small-scale blood dialysis system. The other would help red blood cells that are grown in culture to mature properly.

“We're trying to apply our membrane technologies toward solving some pretty significant health challenges,” Roussie said.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, visited SiMPore on Tuesday to announce that the company is receiving nearly $1 million in federal funds to help it continue its work on those projects.

“SiMPore was once a startup in 2007, and is now on the path to long-term success,” Slaughter said.  “SiMPore is on the brink — and I really mean this — they are on the brink of changing the landscape of biomedical device industry through its innovative approach to manufacturing filtration membranes.”

Slaughter said the blood cell project will be important for people who need transfusions.

“The military is very interested in that for combat zones,” she said.

Roussie hopes SiMPore's work one day leads to portable, continuous dialysis.

“Really, there has been no innovation in this space for over 40 years,” Roussie said. “And we at SiMPore wish to revolutionize the whole paradigm in which dialysis treatments are delivered with something that's shown here that's portable, discreet, wearable — and most importantly, provides a continuous level of therapy or toxin removal so that that patients have something that functions much more like or closer to a healthy kidney.”

He said the dialysis product would have to go through clinical trials and get FDA approval, which means it could be several years before it comes to market.

But if it becomes available, Slaughter said, it would change lives.

“If you're a dialysis patient,” she said, “instead of going and being strapped to a chair for four or five hours three times a week, you just have a thing on your arm that can work continuously for you. That's magnificent.” 

Startup Day gives entrepreneurs a chance to talk to elected officials about challenges and goals.