Chemical & Engineering News announces 2023 list of 10 chemistry start-ups to watch

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2023 — Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), an independent news outlet of the American Chemical Society, unveiled its annual list of 10 chemistry start-ups to watch. The companies were chosen from among hundreds of firms suggested by readers and identified by C&EN reporters, who scoured the chemical, biotech and materials world for young companies with great promise. The magazine’s writers and editors narrowed the list down to the final 10, and the Nov. 13 C&EN cover story profiles these companies and their potentially world-changing innovations.

“This is the ninth year of ‘10 Start-Ups to Watch,’ and each year I’m excited about the companies we present,” says Michael McCoy, interim editor-in-chief of C&EN. “Each year, I also wish we could highlight more of the fascinating young firms we learn about. To me this is evidence that chemistry will always be a source of innovation that can be translated into viable businesses.” 

Here are 2023’s 10 start-ups to watch, along with a brief explanation for why each is being recognized: 

Belharra Therapeutics: Trying to turn the undruggable druggable. 

Cypris Materials: Self-assembling copolymers create a rainbow of structural colorants.

DePoly: Recycling complex plastic waste for a circular economy.

Elicit Plant: Phytosterols could boost crop yields under drought conditions. 

H2Pro: Making green hydrogen cheaper with a two-step electrolyzer. 

Halda Therapeutics: Using bifunctional small molecules to say RIP to cancer cells. 

Mitra Chem: Speeding up discovery and scale-up of low-cost battery materials. 

Septerna: Revitalizing GPCR drug discovery. 

Sublime Systems: Eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from cement production with electrochemistry. 

Trillium Renewable Chemicals: Making carbon fiber and polymers greener through biobased acrylonitrile.

And featured in the “on our radar” section: Flo Materials (endlessly recyclable plastics), Jupiter Ionics (ammonia synthesis with fewer greenhouse gas emissions), Quino Energy (cheaper electrolytes for flow batteries), Sóliome (sunscreen made from a molecule found in human eyes) and Umaro Foods (bacon made from seaweed protein). 

Keep an eye out for next year’s 10 startups to watch. Nominate a company for the 2024 list by clicking here; nominations are due by Aug. 1, 2024. 


The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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