Phase, Inc., Virginia Tech collaborate on NIH grant to build novel 3D printing platform for the $17 billion microfluidics market

The team is collaborating on a project that has applications including “organ-on-a-chip” and “human-on-a-chip.”

Phase, Inc., was recently awarded a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health to collaborate on a project to 3D print medical devices that open new doors to bioinnovation.

Phase, which is located in the greater Charlotte region, is partnering with Virginia Tech on the project that will further the use of microfluidics, which are test tubes of the digital age and can facilitate the development of next-generation therapeutics and diagnostic breakthroughs using “organ-on-a-chip” models.

Phase’s technology allows for the fabrication of microfluidic devices that are multilayered which have features such as electrodes and gels embedded into devices.

“We look forward to leveraging this grant to further develop our technology to expand the capabilities of creating microfluidics in ways that are not possible with existing 3D printing or conventional manufacturing technologies,” said Jeff Schultz, co-founder of Phase.

“Having diagnostic or electrical devices embedded into 3D printed microfluidic devices has the potential to change the way these tools are created and opens new avenues to their applications,” said Rafael Davalos, a professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences who will test the devices.

“There is significant commercial opportunity present in this emerging field,” the NCATS Scientific Review Panel said during the review process.

Phase is headquartered in First Turn Innovations, Charlotte region’s newest engineering and hardware business incubator where entrepreneurs have access to capital and seasoned investors who can help commercialize ideas. The incubator is located in Cornelius, North Carolina, and taps into the network of investors and innovators in the Lake Norman region.

The NCATS grant was awarded through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. NIH small business programs represent one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States and allow U.S.-owned and operated small businesses to engage in research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization.

For more information contact Co-founder Zeke Barlow at or 540-750-6317.

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