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By Blaine Friedlander
  • Agriculture
Cornell startup Zymtronix – an industrial biotech company serving the pharmaceutical, food, agricultural and chemical industries – has been selected as a challenge finalist at the Hello Tomorrow 2020 global summit, March 11-13 in Paris.

The Hello Tomorrow group scouts the world for cutting-edge technology applied in the digital, quantum physics, biology, biotech and new-material realms.

“Hello Tomorrow is the equivalent of the Olympic games for ‘deep tech’ startups,” said Stéphane Corgié, CEO of Zymtronix, which is housed in Cornell’s McGovern Center.

“This is huge for us. This is huge for Cornell University,” Corgié said. “Deep technologies are challenging to translate from the lab into commercialization.

It starts with big ideas that can change the world, patents to protect those ideas, a demonstration of those ideas and execution to make those ideas into marketable products.”

Evaluating more than 5,000 applications from startup technology companies, Hello Tomorrow selected 80 finalists in 14 categories. Corgié will be among those finalists giving a three-minute pitch at Cent Quatre, Paris, to an audience of investors, representatives from major corporations, researchers, other startups and technology media.

Pitch winners in each of the 14 categories will get 10,000 euros (approximately $11,000). Those top pitchers then will make a one-minute final pitch. From there, the ultimate winner will receive 100,000 euros (approximately $110,000).

Zymtronix was selected as only one of six technology pioneers in industrial biotechnology, placing it in the top 2% of all applications from around the world. This is the first Cornell technology group selected for Hello Tomorrow’s final round.

“This is a chance for Zymtronix to be on a global stage, to network with global companies and share our work with some of the biggest entities in these industrial segments,” said Marie Donnelly, Ph.D. ’13, the bioengineering lead for Zymtronix.

Incorporated in 2013 by founders Corgié and Juan Diego Alonso, JD-MBA ’14, Zymtronix has since leveraged Cornell’s patents to provide materials and processes for cost-effective enzyme stabilization to enable green production methods. The company serves the pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical, fragrances, and food, flavor and beverage industries.

Zymtronix’s adaptable materials allow precise control of enzyme performance. Similar to how wet sand can be formed into castles, Zymtronix metamaterials and enzymes can form structures that trap the enzymes in order to maximize productivity for industrial processes by making them reusable. These enzyme scaffolds can be adopted by manufacturers to produce ingredients for pharmaceutical, flavoring, fragrance, food, beverage and agricultural applications.

Last week, Zymtronix announced a strategic agreement with Tate & Lyle PLC, a British-based food ingredient manufacturer, for developing new ingredients, scaling-up and manufacturing.

“Pitching at Hello Tomorrow is fantastic recognition that we have been taking the right steps toward production at an industrial scale,” Corgié said.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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