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September 2022


Major News:


ATLANTA, September, 27, 2022 – CP Kelco, a global leader of nature-based ingredient solutions that is owned by J.M. Huber Corporation, and ExoPolymer, Inc., a biotechnology startup company focused on developing new-to-the-world, polysaccharide-based biopolymers, are excited to announce a partnership to develop and commercialize a portfolio of new functional ingredients for the personal care industry and beyond.

The initial focus of this partnership will be to scale up production of ExoPolymer's first product, a polysaccharide-based biopolymer to be used in high-end, skin care formulations for hydration, anti-aging, and anti-wrinkle performance. In partnership with CP Kelco, ExoPolymer plans to offer an improved alternative to hyaluronic acid that is highly effective, animal-free, genetic modification-free, safe and derived from plant feedstocks.


ExoPolymer’s mission is to create new, sustainable and highly upgraded functional and active ingredients to satisfy a wide range of existing and emerging market needs. It is one of the first industrial biotechnology startup companies to develop a completely new portfolio of polysaccharide-based biopolymer ingredients for markets such as personal care, healthcare and home care, for which sustainability has become an increasingly important characteristic to consumers and performance of currently available biopolymers is lacking.

In addition to an unwavering commitment to sustainability across its operations, CP Kelco brings robust capabilities in fermentation technology, manufacturing, quality control and commercialization to the new partnership. For approximately 90 years, CP Kelco has collaborated with many of the world’s leading food and beverage manufacturers to formulate innovative products that meet key texture and stability requirements while addressing consumer needs and preferences.

“Partnering with CP Kelco at this early stage is exceptionally valuable for ExoPolymer,” said Dr. Derek Wells, Founder and CEO of ExoPolymer. “Their decades of industry leadership, experience in producing biopolymer ingredients, and understanding what it takes to scale a fermentation process substantially de-risk our path to commercial success.  As we explore new and valuable functionalities of our technology, CP Kelco’s production capabilities and market reach will allow us to commercialize needed products at a heightened pace.  We look forward to teaming up with them.”

Read the full story

April 2022


On April 21, 2022, we presented an update on our progress and future plans at Agrifood Conversations.  If you would like to learn more about what we are up to, please click the links!

From the LinkedIn Posting:

Biopolymers are literally everywhere, in products that we all use every day, and for good reason. They’re inexpensive, naturally produced and have uses in food, healthcare, personal care, the energy industry and more. But, despite these advantages, producing biopolymers at scale has long been challenging and limited their potential use in industry.

Learn how one company is working to solve that with a reliable, safe, and cost-effective biological platform for the synthesis of proprietary target molecules, at “Creating High-Performance Biopolymers to Support the Future of Healthcare, Food and More,” the next Agrifood Conversation to be held April 21 at 4pm ET with Derek Wells, founder and CEO of ExoPolymer.

Replays of past conversations can be found here:

November 2021

Microbiologist Dr. Michael Kahn joins ExoPolymer Board of Advisors


ExoPolymer, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel biopolymers for healthcare, food, and materials, is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Kahn has joined the ExoPolymer Advisory Board. 


Dr. Kahn commented: “The structures of these exopolysaccharides confer remarkable properties that bacteria have exploited to aid in their growth and survival. As Exopolymer discovers the properties of specific forms of these complex modified sugars and how to modify them to meet more human criteria, they will be able to develop custom molecules for important markets.  Sugar chemistry is extremely difficult to do using typical synthetic approaches and ExoPolymer’s biological approach should open up whole new opportunities for biopolymers.” 


Dr. Kahn is a Professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry at Washington State University.  He is a world-renowned expert on genetics, biochemistry, and physiology of symbiotic Rhizobium. During his 50-year scientific career, he has been at the forefront of understanding metabolism, gene regulation, and energy relations in the bacteria-plant interface. He also pioneered advanced genomic and biochemical technologies for the study of rhizobia and plants. Dr. Kahn received his undergraduate education at the California Institute of Technology, graduating with a B.S. in physics, and he earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University in Biophysics.  As a postdoctoral fellow at U.C. San Diego, he began working on bacterial and phage genetics in Rhizobium.  In his independent research laboratory at Washington State University, he has taught and mentored several generations of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees. 


In addition to his research leadership, Dr. Kahn was Associate Director of the Washington State University Agricultural Research Center (ARC) and the Agriculture Experiment Station for seven years.  He served as program manager for the Department of Energy in the Biological Energy Research (BER) division and was program manager in the USDA competitive grants division for Nitrogen Fixation and Metabolism. He also served as chair of the North American Agricultural Biotechnology Council. 


ExoPolymer co-founder Dr. Sharon Long commented, “Dr Kahn brings exceptional experience and a sharp analytical view to evaluating science and technology. His insights and advice will be of great help as ExoPolymer chooses targets and approaches for developing novel materials.”

October 2021

ExoPolymer Receives Phase II SBIR Award

We are happy to announce that ExoPolymer has been awarded a Phase II SBIR grant from the USDA. This substantial non-dilutive funding will help us further develop robust fermentation processes and continue to characterize target molecules for the personal care market.  Most importantly, the resources from the Phase II grant will help us achieve early commercial success. We are grateful to have been selected for this award and eager to continue work on the project!

September 2021

Synthetic Biology Pioneer and Investor Doug Cameron to Join ExoPolymer Advisory Board


We are pleased to announce Dr. Douglas Cameron has joined as a member of the ExoPolymer Advisory Board.

According to Dr. Cameron, “Biopolymers represent vast opportunities for new innovation.  There is market need for new products in this space and ExoPolymer’s technology is well positioned to deliver these products.” 

Dr. Cameron has a deep knowledge of all aspects of Industrial Biotechnology.  During his more than 30-years career he has held leadership roles at key academic, industrial and financial institutions in this space. Positions he has held include Chief Scientific Officer at Khosla Ventures and Piper Jaffray, Managing Director at U.S.-China Green Fund and Alberti Advisors, Director of Biotechnology at Cargill and Professor at University of Wisconsin.   Doug received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his BSE from Duke University.  

Derek Wells, founder and CEO of ExoPolymer says, “We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Cameron on our Board of Advisors.  Doug's experience with start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, success in financing, and technical expertise make him an ideal fit as an advisor.”

Doug is a director, board member, and advisor to a range of companies and organizations including Bunge, Geltor, Arzeda, DMC Bio, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the VTT (Finland).  

August 2021

Industrial Biotechnology Veteran Carolyn Fritz to Join ExoPolymer Advisory Board


ExoPolymer, a biotech company working to create new-to-the-world biopolymers announced today that Carolyn Fritz will join their board of Advisors. 


“I am really happy to be able to help ExoPolymer grow their company,” says Ms. Fritz. “Biopolymers are well positioned to be increasingly important across a number of market segments. ExoPolymer’s ability to innovate this class of materials should open new markets and improve existing markets.”


Ms. Fritz has an impressive record in industrial biotechnology. She began her career in 1993 at Cargill where she built a plant biotechnology business focused on new ingredients from canola oil before leaving for Dow in 1999.  At Dow she developed a renewable chemical and biopharmaceutical contract businesses.  In 2005-2014 she led Allylix as CEO from a start-up, raising $34 million and successfully selling the company to Evolva in 2014. 


“We are thrilled to have Carolyn on our advisory board,” says Dr. Sharon Long. “Her combination of executive experience in creating new industrial biotechnology businesseses and strong background in all stages of company development make her an ideal fit as we grow ExoPolymer.”


Today Ms. Fritz is helping drive several innovative companies forward.  She currently serves on the board of CelluComp, is the Chair of DMC’s board, and is a strategic advisor for Brightseed


According to Derek Wells, ExoPolymer CEO and Founder, “Having Ms. Fritz aboard to help us navigate our course from start-up to commercial success is fantastic.  Her guidance and advice, given her track record of success, will be invaluable resources.“


Ms. Fritz has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University, an M.S. in Computer Science from George Washington University, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.  

April 2021

ExoPolymer Receives Scale-up Grant from Illinois Corn Marketing Board


ExoPolymer, an emerging industrial biotech company focused on next-generation biopolymers, or hydrocolloids, is pleased to announce they have received a grant from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board to conduct scale-up efforts at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC).  Hydrocolloids, which can be manufactured using corn as a feedstock, have a broad and growing range of healthcare, personal care, food, and materials applications.


According to Dave Loos, Director of Biofuels and Research at Illinois Corn, “Getting companies like ExoPolymer to come to Illinois and see everything we have to offer is a great way to showcase all the state can do for industrial biotech companies. ”


Derek Wells, CEO of ExoPolymer, says: “Illinois has great facilities for scale up and commercialization, and working with NCERC gives us access to experts who have taken new products from the lab bench to the market.”


The work done at NCERC will help ExoPolymer develop a thorough technoeconomic plan and also provide substantial amounts of sample for distribution to future customers and additional testing.

August 2020

ExoPolymer has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant under the Biofuel and Bio-Based Products topic area from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the USDA. This non equity funding will help us develop robust fermentation processes and map rheological performance of our next generation hydrocolloids. We are eager to start work on the project and generate important data for our strains and products!

December 2019

ExoPolymer, a biotechnology company that specializes in next generation biopolymers for the healthcare, personal care, and food markets, is pleased to announce the first major participant in our Seed funding round, the Investment Group of Santa Barbara (IGSB).  IGSB has funded a diverse set of companies in their portfolio and has a strong track record of success.  Their early participation will allow ExoPolymer to expand operations and to conduct specific research activities for our first target market. 


ExoPolymer produces new and improved biopolymers, or hydrocolloids, using our proprietary biological production systems.  Our products have differential performance in comparison to incumbent molecules such as xanthan, guar, and gellan gums, and the potential to expand hydrocolloid use in a diverse array of markets. 


We are excited to have IGSB as an investor and we look forward to continuing our momentum into the new year!

July 2019


At the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech in Des Moines, Iowa, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II. Three winners were chosen, each with a unique technology to improve a product or process using field corn to produce biobased materials.


“Corn is a sustainable, abundant and affordable industrial feedstock that, as these companies have demonstrated, has myriad uses,” said Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “The winners of the Consider Corn Challenge will help America’s corn farmers partner with industry to establish new uses of corn. This challenge continues to highlight the fact that U.S. corn is an extremely flexible feedstock for biobased products.”


The three winners of the Consider Corn Challenge II are ExoPolymer, Inc., based out of San Carlos, California, Sumatra Biorenewables, LLC. from Ames, Iowa, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service in Peoria, Illinois.
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