Dr. David Mills wins BioChallenge with SimplyBreathe Nasal Implant concept
Sufferers of allergies and nasal congestion have more help on the way thanks to the research of Louisiana Tech Biology Professor Dr. David Mills and his research partner Dr. Grayson Gremillion, a south Louisiana ear, nose and throat physician.
SimplyBreathe is a small intranasal 3D printed microbead — an implant — designed to slowly release medicine for four months to relieve nasal infections, both allergic and chronic. The device is also an example of how Tech is developing and using its research to solve either uncommon or, in this case, common problems.
Mills and Gremillion won the BioChallenge Pitch Competition at the BioInnovation Center conference recently in New Orleans. The $50,000 reward for winning both the Grand Prize and the Biofund Investment Prize will be reinvested in product development and commercialization, Mills said; no commercial implant like this is on the market yet.
“The trend is towards customized and patient specific medical devices and treatments,” Mills said.
My lab has been a pioneer in developing 3D printed medical devices and is committed to developing such products that are also green and cost-effective. I have two new grants received this year that emphasize translational medicine and commercialization.
— Dr. David Mills
Those grants are focused on 3D printed devices for head and facial bone defect repair.
Mills’ BioMorph Laboratory is used for designing novel and dynamic nanofilms for many complex and life-improving applications, and his NERO Laboratory supports a K-16+ outreach program that provides solid educational content and a strong technical foundation in both the molecular sciences and bionanotechnology.
Gremillion began developing SimplyBreathe during his medical residency and contacted Mills in the spring of 2016 about Mills’ 3D work; those discussions led to Mills, developing the implants.
Of note, a variation of the time-release implant can be used in other parts of the body for other things as, Mills said, “we have shown the ability to deliver antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, and hormones.”
By definition, a lab is for experiments, so seldom is something nailed the first time. But, said Mills, “I invest significant time in designing our experimental design. My expectation from the beginning is it will work. Some tweaking, minor and major, is always required.”
The turning point for SimplyBreathe — when Mills knew not only that he could get this done but also that it was just what was envisioned and needed — began when the drug release data they’d produced was very encouraging.
“But when we used a cell line to assess the effects of steroid release on these cells,” Mills said, “I knew we had a winner.”
The BioInnovation Center conference brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and technology scouts in the life science, green energy, and STEM communities.