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Akorn Awarded Prestigious National Science Foundation Grant

Side-by-side comparison of fresh pears with and without Akorn edible coating

Akorn coating extends shelf life and delays ripening

Akorn Technology is proud to announce prestigious Phase I grant award from National Science Foundation/Small Business Innovation Research program

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 9, 2021 / -- Technology (”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 (“SBIR”)

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.

About Akorn Technology, Inc.
Akorn is a startup company founded in 2019 and based in the San Francisco, CA area. The company uses upcycled, non-GMO corn by-products to manufacture edible coatings that double or triple produce shelf life of fresh produce and deliver long-lasting and safe produce options.

Akorn’s seasoned team has significant expertise with produce customers, operations, distribution, markets, and regulatory issues. Our combined experience totals 10+ startup companies, with dozens of new product launches and successful exits. Our technology is protected by patents, trade secrets and proprietary formulations.
Twitter: @AkornTechnology
Side-by-side comparison image of fresh pears is linked.
Akorn logos available upon request.

About the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) program
The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the NSF SBIR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of deep technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market. The NSF SBIR Program funds research and development. The program is designed to provide non-dilutive funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development.

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will know within three weeks if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:

Anthony Zografos PhD, Founder Akorn Technology,
+1 415-612-0497

Xander Shapiro, Co-Founder Akorn Technology,
+1 415 793 4995

Contacts for Latin America and Europe upon request (languages Spanish, German, Swedish, Greek)

Xander Shapiro
Akorn Technology
+1 415-793-4995
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