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OPT designs and manufactures highly customizable functional materials by combining computational design, automation engineering, and material science. Through its patented technology, OPT provides content solutions to customers in a variety of industries, addressing their design, production, and supply chain requirements.
Fremont, CA: OPT Industries, the manufacturing technology startup behind the InstaSwab high-efficiency medical applicator, raised $15 million in Series A round of funding led by global science-and-technology-driven venture capital firm Northpond Ventures, with participation from existing investors Crosslink Capital and the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund.
OPT's proprietary additive manufacturing system, based on seven years of R&D at MIT in 3D printing and computational fabrication, enables the 3D printing of continuous materials and products at unlimited lengths with micron-level precision. RAMPTM, OPT's flagship technology and the world's first roll-to-roll 3D printing platform, are at the heart of the system.
"As an advanced manufacturing company, we see the value in developing micro-scale technologies that solve macro-scale problems," said Jifei Ou, OPT's founder and CEO. "OPT collaborates with customers to design and manufacture novel metamaterials and products for the healthcare, automotive, cosmetics, and consumer goods industries, among others." We will use the new funding to meet the demand for InstaSwab, fuel product development, scale operations, and expand the business.
OPT, which was spun off from MIT, quickly scaled up its technology during the pandemic to design and manufacture the InstaSwab novel nasal swab for COVID-19 testing. The InstaSwab was discovered to be up to 20 times more effective in bacterial sample elution and significantly more effective in viral sample elution for COVID-19 testing.
"In the field of material science, metamaterials is a rapidly developing area with enormous untapped potential," Andrea Jackson, Director at Northpond Ventures, said. "OPT's platform is unique in its ability to design materials with advanced properties and superior performance across a wide range of applications such as absorption, cushioning, insulation, and more. The InstaSwab, which is made of precisely engineered fibrous structures that are each thinner than a human hair, is an example of a standout innovation in novel metamaterials. In addition, OPT's technology enabled the development of a more sensitive medical diagnostic test, with real-world implications for patient care."