RTI spin-off acquired

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 07:07 PM

A technology company spun off by RTI International, the nonprofit contract research institute based in the Research Triangle Park, has been acquired by Laird Technologies, a designer and supplier of electronics components and systems.

RTI said in a news release Wednesday that Durham-based Nextreme Thermal Solutions has been acquired by Laird Technologies. The Laird PLS subsidiary designs and manufactures thermally conductive materials, including for use in telecommunications and instrumentation, according to the release.

Since it was spun off by the nonprofit in 2004, Nextreme has focused on commercialization of thermoelectric technology that, according to the RTI release, provides more efficient thermal management solutions for high-performance electronics and optical devices.

The release said Nextreme’s thin-film thermoelectric technology can harvest thermal energy as a renewable energy source, and has other applications, including for use in products for DNA amplification.

The technology’s early development at RTI was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other defense agencies, the release states.

According to a news release from Laird, the company will acquire Nextreme’s equity for a cash cost of $1, with the potential for future payments.

The company will pay out 40 percent of revenue over a four-year period from 2014, capped at $60 million if Nextreme reaches $150 million in revenue.

This year, Nextreme is expected to see a loss of $3 million as it moves into mass production, the release from Laird said.

The company’s products and staff will be integrated into Laird’s existing thermal business unit. 

“Nextreme is the next generation in technology for thermoelectrics,” said Laird CEO David Lockwood, in a news release. “It can fundamentally change the way we cool electronics at the most integrated levels while being produced in large volumes.”