Encinitas-based CycloPure Awarded $725,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant

By on September 30, 2018

A leading innovator in water purification technologies, Encinitas-based CycloPure, Inc., has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant in the amount of $725,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). CycloPure, the developer of DEXSORB filtration products, will use the grant funds to adapt its DEXSORP-MP adsorbent for home-use applications to filter out micropollutants from drinking water.

Barry Johnson, director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF, explained the SBIR Phase II grant awards saying, “The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts. We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

“It’s a major milestone to receive this Phase II award from the National Science Foundation. Proposals undergo a rigorous merit-based review,” said CycloPure Chief Executive Frank Cassou. “We’ve drawn worldwide interest from companies and municipalities looking to integrate our DEXSORB adsorbents into their water treatment products and applications. NSF’s help with this grant is significant to our plans to introduce our DEXSORB solutions first to the home filtration market.”

DEXSORB-MP is derived from renewable corn-based cyclodextrin. Originally profiled in Nature in January 2016, DEXSORB-MP’s superior performance over activated carbon has since been reported in multiple peer-reviewed studies. A key feature of DEXSORB-MP is its instant uptake of micropollutants enabling its use in home purification systems where consumers require short contact time filtration products.

CycloPure’s DEXSORB-MP represents a new class of adsorbents engineered to safely strip away hundreds of micropollutants including pesticides, pharmaceutical compounds and perfluorinated compounds (PFOA and PFOS) which contaminate much of the country’s drinking water. These compounds are often pervasive and can present toxicity at trace concentrations; consumers in the United States and around the world no longer trust the safety of their drinking water due to the presence of micropollutants and other contaminants.

Many of today’s current point-of-use filtration products are primarily designed to improve taste and odor but are generally ineffective in removing micropollutants. As a result, consumers have significantly increased the non-sustainable use of plastic bottled water, now a $260 billion market. However, the plastic bottled water industry is now reacting to claims of micropollutants in their plastic bottles along with an outcry from environmentalists and activists for the pollution of beaches and waterways due to haphazardly discarded plastic bottles.

“We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support from the National Science Foundation, which shares our goal of protecting the safety of tap water for Americans,” said CycloPure Chief Science Officer Will Dichtel. “This Phase II grant will accelerate the commercial development of DEXSORB-MP so manufacturers can begin to offer DEXSORB-enhanced filtration products to strip out micropollutants from drinking water.”

All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.  Small businesses can receive up to $1.5 M in funding from NSF under the program. Companies must first earn a Phase I award (up to $225,000) to qualify for Phase II grants (up to $750,000) to further develop and commercialize their technology. 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.