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Emerging Technology Fund award linked to CASNR research

image image Texas officials announced today (Mar. 29) approval of an Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) award, of up to $1.5 million for MicroZAP, a biotechnology company specializing in food safety. MicroZAP was spun off from patented technology developed through cutting-edge food sterilization research at Texas Tech.

“Not only could this new technology lead to significant advances in food safety for everyone, but also this ETF grant hopefully will help MicroZAP grow into a thriving biotech company that creates new jobs and economic development opportunities for Lubbock,” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said.

Directional Microwaves. MicroZAP uses directional microwaves delivered at varying doses and intensities to target disease-causing microorganisms with great precision. The technology has even demonstrated the ability to kill deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria (MRSA).

“The EFT funds will allow us to move the MicroZap technology forward, thus providing safer food products in the supermarket, which will ultimately reduce the number of food-borne illnesses and lead to safer food on America’s dinner tables,” said Mindy Brashears, director of Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence.

Tier One Status. “It’s this kind of research, development and commercialization that will help universities like Texas Tech achieve Tier One status in Texas,” Dewhurst said. “Creating more Tier One universities is critical to our state’s future; not only will they provide greater opportunities in higher education for our fast-growing population, they will lead to more life-saving and life-improving innovation that can be commercialized and create new jobs.”

Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) said the announcement reflects an essential step toward advancing Texas’ position as a leader in new technology. “This research presents tremendous potential for our community, our nation’s food supply and our university’s future Tier One status,” he said.

Milestones Ahead. MicroZAP will receive $500,000 at the beginning of the company’s contract with the state. As the company achieves milestones agreed to in the final contract, it may receive up to $1 million in additional ETF award funds. The state will take an equity position in the company for its investment.

The Texas Legislature created the ETF in 2005. The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House must jointly approve each ETF grant based upon the review and recommendations of a 17-member advisory committee made up of leaders in the fields of business and research.

Written by Cory Chandler

CONTACT: Mindy Brashears, Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2805 ext. 235 or mindy.brashears@ttu.edu

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