'Groovy' fibers may reshape market for absorbent materials

November 27, 2001

New technology donated to Clemson University has potential to improve a wide variety of products - from athletic garments to drug delivery systems

CLEMSON -- Thanks to a gift of patents from Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Clemson University has a virtual lock on a new wave of fiber and film technologies with wide-reaching potential. Today P&G announced the donation of its proprietary Capillary Channel Film and Fiber (CCF) Technology to Clemson.

The unique grooves created by the new micro-capillary technology could make materials such as athletic garments feel significantly drier next to the body. Benefits may also be seen in feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products and baby diapers. The grooves could also trap allergens in air-filtration systems or deliver antibiotics through a wound-care dressing.

Other applications may include acoustical insulation to deaden engine and road noise in automobiles and improved ways to meter water and nutrients in hydroponic applications.

The technology package being donated includes rights to 10 U.S. patents and 84 foreign and pending patents, and all intellectual property from the technology's development. The P&G patents, when paired with existing Clemson patents, are invaluable because they have the potential to make Clemson a leader in absorbent materials technology. The foreign patents open similar areas of technology worldwide, making the market truly global.

With successful commercialization of CCF Technology, annual sales of fibers and films using CCF could exceed half a billion dollars. Clemson's benefit would result from royalties on product sales.

As the new sole owners of the technology, Clemson will benefit from future revenues after the technology is further developed, tested and commercialized. The Clemson University Research Foundation will hold the technology in trust for the university.

"We are thrilled that Clemson will be able to continue the development of this significant technology. It presents a 'real-life laboratory' for Clemson students to further develop and commercialize a promising technology that can lead to a new source of funding for the university," said Al Dierckes, director of P&G's Baby Care Technology Division.

Dierckes said P&G chose Clemson because of its research strength in the field of films and fibers and its excellent track record in taking a technology from the workbench to the workplace. Clemson is nationally recognized for excelling in the commercialization of intellectual property, typically ranking among the nation's top 25 universities.

Clemson University President James F. Barker said, "This gift gives our students access to cutting-edge technology in research and will enhance the quality of their education - both now, and in the future when royalties resulting from the gift will be reinvested in the academic enterprise."

The learning opportunities go far beyond the labs affiliated with Clemson's School of Materials Science and Engineering, the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Film, and Clemson Apparel Research. M.B.A. students with the university's Arthur M. Spiro Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership will also get real-world experience by helping determine the technology's best business and marketing niches.

CCF Technology

CCF Technology creates synthetic fibers that contain deep grooves, or capillaries, that effectively channel fluids, much like how a tree moves water from its roots to its furthermost leaves. In absorbent materials, the design of the fiber and depth of the grooves determines how the fluids will be transported. CCF Technology involves a new shape of fiber that can be engineered to meet different product needs, such as channeling a lot of fluid a short way or channeling a little fluid a long way - or even directing the fluid to a specific location. Flexibility and unique directional ability are significant benefits of CCF Technology.

About Clemson University

Clemson University is South Carolina's leading land-grant university, with approximately 14,000 undergraduate and 3,400 graduate and professional students. The university, pursuing a goal of becoming one of the nation's top 20 public universities, offers students invaluable learning resources through research institutes, technological facilities and outstanding faculty. Clemson offers undergraduate programs in engineering and science; agriculture, forestry and life sciences; architecture, arts and humanities; health, education and human development and business and behavioral sciences.

About Procter & Gamble (P&G)

P&G markets 250 brands to five billion consumers in 130 countries. P&G invests nearly $2 billion a year to develop and improve its products - leading the way in R&D globally among consumer products companies. P&G's Global Licensing and External Business Development Unit is charged with ensuring the company maximizes the value of its "treasure trove" of technologies by selling, licensing and, in some cases, donating these technologies. The unit is also responsible for licensing select P&G brand trademarks.
-end-


Clemson University

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