FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Mon Aug 13 16:42:03 EDT 2012

ACS entrepreneurs tackle BPA-free plastic food packaging and advanced diabetes drugs in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Aug. 13, 2012 — Imagine BPA-free plastics for food packaging and cutting-edge, anti-diabetes drugs and cancer-inhibiting treatments manufactured in the U.S.

These up-and-coming enterprises, developed by chemists Michael Bigwood, Ph.D., and Stephanie Davis, Ph.D., with support from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Entrepreneurial Resource Center, will headline a Philadelphia press conference.

The press conference will be held Thursday, August 23, at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time in the ACS Press Center, Room 304 of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Journalists may register in advance for the press conference and the meeting. Reporters planning to cover the meeting from their home bases will have access to the press conferences over the Internet in ACS’ popular “Live Chat” format.

Michael Bigwood – Polymer Phases:
Polymer Phases, based in Oreland, Pa., develops renewable specialty chemicals that serve as replacements for petroleum-based products currently used in many applications. Bigwood has developed BPA-free resins for food packaging and coatings applications, and is developing formaldehyde-free adhesives for engineered wood products such as strand board, agglomerated wood panels and plywood. Polymer Phases has two patent applications and will soon file a third.

Stephanie Davis — NeoCell:
Type 2 diabetes and cancers are very much on the rise, particularly as the U.S. population ages. Davis’ company will develop new anti-diabetic and anti-tumor drugs and supplements using cell signaling technology to inhibit key disease-causing pathways. The drugs will be created to address several key consumer concerns, including having a low price, being orally administered and being produced in quantities to avoid drug shortages. Davis is establishing her company in New York City and Yonkers, N.Y., and plans to keep all jobs associated with NeoCell in the U.S.

These entrepreneurs exemplify the important role scientific innovation plays in U.S. economic growth, creating new markets and new jobs. The ACS Entrepreneurial Resource Center is supporting 30 such ventures. The press conference will feature ACS leaders and chemistry entrepreneurs:

  • Moderator: David Harwell, Ph.D., assistant director for ACS Career Management and Development
  • Michael Lefenfeld, chair, ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative Advisory Board, president and chief scientific officer, SiGNa Chemistry
  • Stephanie Davis, Ph.D., New York Institute of Technology, founder and CEO of NeoCell, a biotechnology start-up in the New York City area
  • Michael Bigwood, Ph.D., vice president and CTO of Polymer Phases
  • Kenneth Polk, special assistant to the ACS executive director and CEO for Innovation and Legal Affairs

The press conference, a webinar and more than 8,600 reports on discoveries in scientific fields ranging from astronomy to zoology will be held during the ACS’ 244th National Meeting & Exposition, which will bring almost 14,000 chemical scientists, engineers and others to Philadelphia.

The ACS Entrepreneurial Resource Center is one of two ACS programs geared to entrepreneurs under the Entrepreneurial Initiative and provides affordable (or free) help to select entrepreneurs in the chemical sciences to foster the creation of small companies from startups. The second program, the Entrepreneurial Training Program, awards scholarships, twice yearly through a competitive process, to train chemists who have a high potential of becoming successful entrepreneurs.

The ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative was formed in response to a 2011 ACS Presidential Task Force, which investigated ways the chemical enterprise could stimulate economic growth in the U.S. The task force released its report last year, Innovation, Chemistry and Jobs, which can be found at www.acs.org/CreatingJobs.

The report details steps to create economic growth, generate revenue and add new jobs in one of the nation’s most valuable scientific exports: chemistry and the chemical enterprise.

“We are delighted that this initiative has gotten off the ground so quickly and that we have well-established chemical scientists who have successfully launched companies assisting us in creating jobs for chemists and chemical engineers in this country,” ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs said. “The chemistry enterprise is huge, and we need to nurture it for the good of our country. More than 96 percent of all manufactured goods are touched by the business of chemistry, and we employ more than 800,000 people in industry alone. Furthermore, the chemical industry accounts for more than 10 percent of the U.S.’s total merchandise exports: $145 billion.”

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