Aequor is a woman-owned small business with a large portfolio of proprietary chemical compounds discovered in the ocean that are non-toxic, “green,” and natural antimicrobials.
Why is your company the best option to solve the problem you're solving?
Over $600 billion are spent on chemicals every year. Most of them are toxic and ineffective against the antimicrobial-resistant pathogens at all stages of their growth, particularly biofilm. Aequor's founder, a divemaster and marine and medical microbiologist, theorized that the coral reef was a trove of natural antimicrobials. She discovered and developed a proprietary library of over 70 closely-related organic compounds. Twenty-five of these compounds are synthesized analogs that are approved under the EPA Toxic Substances Control Act, available in commercial quantities, and easily incorporated in product formulations, materials, packaging, and coatings for agro-industrial, consumer and medical markets. These analogs are eco-friendly, sustainable, and "green" while providing superior performance to eradicate contamination from the 3 vectors of microbial transmission -- animals, humans and the environment - implementing the United Nations' One Health approach to reducing the threat of Superbug pandemics.
What nuggets of info make you interesting? Why do people care about what you're doing?
Customers along the biocide value chain, from chemical giants to product manufacturers to end-users, seek ingredients and products that safeguard the environmental and human health, reduce CO2 emissions and are sustainable. Users of Aequor's ingredients and products wish to ""go green,"" save energy and improve their environmental profiles without sacrificing performance or cost. Since all U.S. federal procurement agents are mandated to buy products with "biobased" components to replace those made with petro-chemicals and since Aequor is a Woman Owned Small Business eligible for 5% of all U.S. government contracts (Federal, State, County and Municipal), the Company enjoys a privileged market position for itself and for its strategic partners. Aequor is an agile enterprise, engaging teams of specialists for each pilot project. The Company has little downside and has built considerable experience managing a continual flow of demand for pilot projects from all over the world. The pilot projects assign no rights and allow Aequor to obtain performance data in multiple industries. The Company has locked in its chemical supply chain and offers discounts on bulk orders. Aequor's current projects in San Diego include providing microbiology testing to assess the efficacy of existing sanitation protocols followed by companies and public locations to remove COVID and Superbug surface contamination before they open up for business. Aequor offers its unique water treatments to commercial and agro-industrial water system operators to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emission, particularly in closed-loop systems (cooling towers, HVAC, etc.) and desalination plants, and would welcome a partner to establish a microalgae biomass cultivation industry in San Diego.
What else do you want us to know?
Aequor is organized like an ingredients company, laser-focused on developing B2B sales and licensing arrangements for our chemical compounds and proprietary end-use products. We won over $8 million in validation testing that showed that the same set of unique chemicals could be used against the Superbugs wherever they are found. Last year, the U.S. government selected Aequor to represent American innovation at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the Hague, where we were honored by the Queen of the Netherlands and Yvanka Trump. Aequor organized the first all-woman panel at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotech, presented at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference, undertook a pilot project with a major oil and gas company, and was featured in Biofuels Digest for developing technologies that make biofuel production profitable. This year, Aequor continued its 3-year project with NASA, which told said that there could be no long-duration manned Space travel without Aequor's water treatments in the life support systems. One of Aequor's experiments is scheduled to be flying ""on orbit"" by year end. The Department of Energy is assessing the impacts of Aequor chemicals in open pond algae cultivation, and the Company is offering samples under MTAs to several multinationals that sponsored Aequor's participation in the Plug and Play's Materials and Packaging accelerator. Aequor is standardizing surface testing and enhanced sanitation protocols for the Global Health Security Network that will be implemented by developing countries to reduce pandemic threats. On the back burner, the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control send Aequor the latest Superbug clinical isolates to test, and the NIH and Department of Defense selected Aequor for their accelerator programs for conducting pre-clinical trials valued over $18 million for up to 9 new drug candidates. The Biomedical Advanced R&D Administration (BARDA) confirmed support for fast-tracking Aequor's new drug candidates once they enter the FDA pipeline. Aequor is listed on the Who's Who of One Health, is a member of BIO, the AMR Industry Alliance, and other organizations developing policy for ""green"" and "biobased" products. Congressional staffers frequently contact Aequor regarding the knowledge and funding gaps that need to be addressed in order to develop an effective national preparedness plan - drawing on Cynthia's unmatched microbiogical biofilm expertise and Marilyn's experience handling the pandemic threat portfolio at the State Department for 16 years."
BEHIND THE COMPANY
CEO/Founder: Marilyn Bruno
What is your company's secret sauce?
Aequor's secret sauce is the large unencumbered portfolio of proprietary ""green"" small molecules that remove biofilm in minutes, prevent its formation for days, can be used alone or as a "potentiator" of ineffective biocides and antibiotics. The portfolio is segmented by regulatory barrier: novel natural antimicrobials discovered in the coral reef environment; novel analogs earmarked to be new drug candidates; natural analogs for use as antimicrobial, antibiofilm and antifouling agents in agro-industrial and consumer products; and specialty chemicals, including dispersants and cleaning agents, already EPA/TSCA approved and available for immediate sale in commercial (ton) quantities. Aequor's trade secrets include the marine microbes, which Founder Burzell named, and hundreds of natural chemicals that they produce. Dr. Burzell unmatched expertise in biofilm, its role in microbial resistance, and over 20 years' experience providing microbial testing gives Aequor a unique edge in the early verticals it is targeting: water treatments, algae/yeast boosting, surface cleaners and associated testing services.
What's the best entrepreneurial advice you've received?
If you want to be a chemical company, change your name to DuPont.
What's the worst entrepreneurial advice you've received?
Take the risk.
What sets your company culture apart?
Founders are family (mother-daughter) that have expertise that is complementary: Cynthia Burzell is the CSO, handling the science; Marilyn Bruno is the CEO, handling the business-side of the enterprise. They have gone through 3 bootcamps together and designed a clear pathway for commercializing selected EPA/TSCA approved chemicals in beachhead markets, while remaining positioned to develop antimicrobial products and new drug candidates to kill the Superbugs as grants and customer funding opportunities arise. The CEO develops projects and relationships, following the capital-efficient virtual model. The CSO assembles the teams of in-house and outsourced experts to run the projects from Aequor's lab (Jlabs San Diego). Experts usually welcome the chance to join Team Aequor's collaborative and innovation process. Aequor's trade secrets include the marine microbes, which Founder Burzell named, and hundreds of natural chemicals that they produce. Dr. Burzell unmatched expertise in biofilm, its role in microbial resistance, and over 20 years' experience providing microbial testing gives Aequor a unique edge in the early verticals it is targeting: water treatments, algae/yeast boosting, surface cleaners and associated testing services.