The logo of startup Liquidia Technologies says a great deal about the focus of the new venture — a drop of blue water with a wall of bricks anchoring its left side.

Using technology licensed from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Liquidia has developed a mix of fluropolymers that are liquid at room temperature yet “cure” to substances similar to Teflon — elastic but solid — when exposed to light.

“The enhanced material combines the appealing properties of silicones and glass, outperforming each individually and makes possible many exciting new applications,” the company said in a release.

Possible uses range from Nanotechnology to semi-conductor fabrication and flat-screens for TVs and other displays.

Liquidia is looking to form strategic alliances to develop various uses for its technology. The company will provide materials, collaboration and expterise to partners who will be granted licenses to commercialize products.

Bruce Boucher, the former chief financial officer at Magellan, is acting as interim chief executive officer for Liquidia.

The company’s technology is based on work done in labs run by veteran entrepreneur Joseph DeSimone and Edward Samulski. DeSimone is a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering and teaches at both UNC and NCSU. DeSimone, who helped develop CO2 technology that was turned into a new form of fabric cleaning as a counter to traditional dry cleaning, is also director of the National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes and is co-director of the Kenan Center for the Utilization of CO2 in Manufacturing.

Samulski is a professor of chemistry at UNC who has done much research in the area of liquid crystal displays.

On Friday, Liquidia announced that it had granted an exclusive license to CTI Molecular Imaging, a provider of equipment for positron emission tomography (PET), an imaging technology that is used in the detection and treatment of cancer, neurological disorders, and cardiac disease.

CTI also works with radiolabeled niomarkers. The company is based in Knoxville, TN.

The agreement will allow CTI to utilize Liquidia technology in production and use of fluoropolymer-based microfluidic devices for PET related disease detection and therapies.

The companies also will work together on a product development program for the synthesis of radioisotope-labeled biomarkers for disease detection and therapies.

“Our agreement with an industry leader like CTI speaks volumes about the significance of our technology for fabricating cost-effective, high performance microfluidic devices,” DeSimone said. “CTI represents Liquidia’s first customer in the multi-billion dollar microfluidic marketplace. This early adoption of Liquidia’s materials and methods by CTI will propel the development of our technology in the numerous other micro- and nano-fluidic application areas beyond biomarker synthesis and delivery.”

Ron Nutt, CTI’s chief executive officer, said Liquidia would provide the “base material” for use in production of microfluidic chps. These chips would contain “thousands of valves and pumps contained on a chip no larger than 1 centimeter square,” he explained. “These unique microfluidics chips are expected to make a dramatic impact on the development and cost of manufacturing of biomarkers for molecular imaging and we are looking forward to working with Liquidia in this important relationship.”

Terms were not disclosed.

“Liquidia is poised to bring breakthroughs in materials science to a wide range of companies in the chemical, life sciences, and electronic industries,” DeSimone said in a statement. “We believe that our liquid fluoropolymers provide an important solution to a whole host of problems being faced by these companies. Our materials will revolutionize and expand the multibillion dollar microfluidics industry.

“These same materials give rise to an unprecedented ability to mold discrete nanoscale objects, including particles useful for drug delivery and discovery and disease detection and mapping,” he added. “Intricate molding on the nanoscale immediately suggests other applications including fabricating semi-conductors, fuel cells, and flat-panel display. This discovery is broadly applicable and scalable for cost effective commercialization.”

The company said its materials:

  • Can be easily and quickly molded to replicate nano-scale features

  • Has the chemical and solvent resistance of PTFE (a polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene)

  • Has the elastomeric and mechanical properties of silicones
    Can confine liquid precursor materials into nano-scale isolated objects

  • Can be easily modified to become catalytic and permselective
  • Liquidia already has a high profile board of directors, including Bill Starling, who is chief executive officer of Synecor, and Lowry Caudill, one of the founders of Magellan Laboratories, which was later sold to Cardinal Health.

    “Liquidia’s founders have a track record of entrepreneurial achievement that is hard to match”, Starling said. “DeSimone and his team are known throughout the world for their inventiveness in polymeric materials and the patent savvy protection of their concepts.”