Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Enhancing or Controlling Silver Solubility

Request Number
Due Date
Dec 6, 2016
Program Manager

RFP Custom Information

Program Manager:

Kevin Andrews, Ph.D.



Licensing, product acquisition, contract research, proof of concept leading to scale-up to manufacturing, joint development, supplier agreement


An opportunity to participate in a portion of a $2 billion annual market



Phase 1 – Proof of concept in 6-9 months

Phase 2 – Engineering development in 6-18 months



Phase 1 – Funding is available to support efforts to make samples for sponsor evaluation




Phone: +1-216-283-3901

RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Enhancing or Controlling Silver Solubility
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing a global health care products company, invites proposals for technology or processes to enhance or control silver solubility in aqueous systems.

NineSigma’s client manufactures wound dressings in which they incorporate silver as an antimicrobial agent.  The client incorporates silver by adding aqueous silver sulfate to hydrophilic polymer media precursors as they make a foam substrate.  As a result, silver particles become embedded in the foam.  When the wound dressing is placed over a wound, the dressing pulls fluids from the wound by capillary action.  Some of the silver in the dressing becomes solvated during the process, delivering silver as an antimicrobial agent to inhibit infection.


NineSigma’s client is interested in three scenarios for silver solubility: i) product manufacture, ii) initial use of wound dressing, and iii) ongoing use of wound dressing.  Each of these scenarios has slightly different requirements for controlling silver solubility.


  1. Product manufacture


Ideally, it would be useful for silver solubility to be rapid and complete, to permit the rapid uptake of silver into the foam matrix.  It may also be useful to control the rate of uptake to match the kinetics of the foam formation.


  1. Initial use of a wound dressing


Just after application of a wound dressing, at short time scales, the quantity of fluid available to solvate silver may be small, leading to small concentration gradients between the dressing and the wound.  There is also a need for faster silver ion deployment to prevent (or begin to eliminate) microbial growth.


  1. Ongoing use of wound dressing


As time elapses, with a wound dressing in place, it is important to manage the release of silver ions to maintain antimicrobial performance without releasing too much silver.


NineSigma’s client is interested in technology or processes to control silver solubility in one or more of these scenarios.


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Enhance or control silver solubility in complex aqueous solutions
    • Not be light sensitive
  • Enable silver to stay in a particular oxidation state as a function of time
  • Not hinder the antimicrobial properties of silver
  • Be compatible with polymers that include but are not limited to: polyacrylic acid, polyvinyl acetate, polyurethane, polyethylene oxide, carboxymethyl cellulose, and polyacrylamides
  • Preferably use ingredients with acceptable environmental, health, and safety (EHS) profile
  • Have a viable path to reach commercial scale

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Proof of concept

  • Demonstration at lab scale
  • Provide 100-300 g samples for sponsor to evaluate microbial performance and kinetics and prepare material prototypes for comparison to internal benchmarks


Phase 2 – Engineering development

  • Optimize application of technology for incorporation into sponsor’s products


Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Client will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization.


Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Synergistic effects of other biocides
  • Complexing of silver with other moieties to enhance or stabilize solubility
  • Optimizing silver compound particle size to effect solubility
  • Ion exchange processes
  • Time release technology


Approaches not of Interest
  • Silver wound dressing systems


Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including solubility product constant Ksp, kinetics, and EHS profile
  • Technical maturity of the approach (feasibility established, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to produce evaluation samples including timing and estimated budget
  • Pathway to commercial scale and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience


Appropriate responses to this Request

Responses from companies (small to large), consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.

For example:


You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a proof of concept.

You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at lab scale.

You represent a company or university that has developed a method for use at pilot scale.

You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a method ready for implementation at industrial scale.

You represent a university research department that has a bench-scale demonstration ready to adapt.

You represent a university research department that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.


Expiration Date
Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest