Akorn is proud to announce they have received a prestigious Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) under its Small Business Innovation Research program.
The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. NSF's mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.
“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “
“Akorn’s customer discovery has shown a deep need for methods to extend the shelf life of fresh produce and reduce post-harvest losses” said Xander Shapiro, Chief Commercial Officer of Akorn. “To address this need, we have developed highly effective, all-natural edible coatings that are easy to use.
Global fresh produce packers are able to use our coatings, without the need for additional equipment, labor, or disruption to their existing systems.” This grant award serves as an endorsement of Akorn’s revolutionary product platform. It will fund Akorn’s efforts to extend their edible coatings into new commodities and maximize the societal, environmental, and financial impact of their solution, in accordance with NSF’s mission.
“Akorn’s testing to-date has shown that our coatings double or triple the shelf life of fresh produce while significantly improving food safety and reducing losses due to rot, mold and other factors,” said Anthony Zografos, CEO of Akorn. “We use upcycled non-GMO corn by-products to manufacture our coatings, tackling the $1 trillion dollar food waste problem in a novel way: we use food waste to fight food waste. Our coatings are already commercially available for pears, mangoes, peaches, and nectarines. Under this grant we will collaborate with world-class institutions like the USDA and Colorado State University to extend the application of our coatings to many more fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Akorn’s coatings are water-based and do not require harsh chemicals and solvents. They can be applied using existing waxers or other coating equipment and configured on-the-fly to meet packers’ needs, to ensure the highest quality product, regardless of commodity, variety or season. The coatings are manufactured with all FDA-approved ingredients that are 100% plant-based and meet vegetarian, Kosher and Halal requirements. Akorn’s coatings are currently under evaluation by several customers, and major commercial expansion is planned for the 2021 harvest season.
For more information:
Tel.: +1 415-793-4995
Anthony Zografos PhD
Tel.: +1 415-612-0497