SBIR-STTR Award

Next Generation Biopolymers for High Value Markets
Profile last edited on: 6/3/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
USDA
Total Award Amount
$748,101
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
Derek Wells
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Exopolymer Inc

737 Industrial Road
San Carlos, CA 94070
   (650) 799-6665
   N/A
   www.exopolymer.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   14
County:   San Mateo

Phase I

Phase I year
2020
Phase I Amount
$99,735
Risk assessment experts on the identification of food safety priorities using the Delphi technique stated that foodborne viruses were among the top-rated food safety priorities and have become of great concern to the food industry over the past few years. Food safety experts agreed that control measures for viruses throughout the food chain are required. However understanding with regard to the effective controls and how to properly validate performance whether it is the personal hygiene of food handlers the processing of at-risk foods or the interpretation and action required on a positive virus test result. Multiple techniques and technologies have been developed for viral detection and control. In addition there are gaps in understanding and future perspectives on the application of viral detection and control strategies for the food industry along with suggestions on how the food industry should implement effective control strategies for viruses in foods. We will address the current state of the food supply chain and the greatest impact using science on the public health burden risk assessment and management options from harvest to consumption. IoT AI and blockchain play a part as an enabler of digital supply networks and ecosystems that are connected intelligent collaborative and trusted. Integrated these disruptive technologies add great value by achieving a safe farm to table supply chain model. Integration between IoT platforms and supply chain management systems bring richer more highly granular datasets into the mix; AI and machine learning enhanced system understanding; anchored to a blockchain network create cross boundary processes to blockchain-based smart contracts and create autonomous decentralized applications. With this all parties in the ecosystem behave as peers (where appropriate) and the blockchain enables them to trust in the data shared with them. Full lifecycle digital twins enable a blockchain to maintain a digital ledger that tracks the product along with predictive outcomes. IoT AI and blockchain add value to supply chain management in isolation; in combination they present the opportunity to set a new standard and to deliver a smarter well-defined intelligent autonomous food supply chain operation. Analytics and AI layered with verifiable data sources extend the 'process zone' to the ecosystem partners as smart contracts are executed. As supply chains evolve into networks and ecosystems; our expectation is to achieve an increasingly safe food supply chain impacting the health and security of this nation

Phase II

Phase II year
2021 (last award dollars: 2021)
Phase II Amount
$648,366
ExoPolymer is focused on the production of innovative biopolymer ingredients for a variety ofindustries.In Phase I we characterized baseline performance and identified a major opportunity inpersonal care.The Phase II opportunity involves bringing to market next generation biopolymerswith numerous performance advantages over hyaluronic acid a valuable incumbent ingredient usedfor its moisturization and anti-aging properties.Technical goals of the proposed research are to generate critical data necessary forcommercialization by (1) further development of proprietary platform strains (2) detailedfermentation and downstream process development and (3) additional functional testing of targetmolecules and derivatives.Anticipated results include the identification of improved production strains through targetedgenetic engineering establishment of a scalable production process and technoeconomic plan byfermentation and purification at increased volumes and selection of the best candidates forcommercialization by testing molecules and variants for commercially relevant performance.Commercial applications of our product(s) are in high end anti-wrinkle skincare products andinclude an eventual expansion into a wider range of high volume personal care and other markets.Our technology has generated significant interest from several major cosmetics firms.Our project addresses SBIR goals of technological innovation through development of novelvaluable materials for the personal care market and commercialization of innovations derived fromfederal R&D funding.We address USDA strategic goals by increasing agricultural value usingcorn-derived feedstock and production in rural U.S. facilities.Expanding the biopolymerapplication space through innovation will drive rural prosperity and economic development to meetdemands in growing markets.