Akermin Raises $5 Million

Akermin, a St. Louis-based developer of biocatalysts that immobilize enzymes, stabilizes their performance and extends their operating life, has raised nearly $5 million in Series A-2 funding. Return backers include Prolog Ventures, OnPoint Technologies, Chrysalix Energy and the St. Louis Arch Angels. The company has now raised just under $8.5 million in total VC funding.

 

PRESS RELEASE

Akermin, a biocatalyst technologies company that has developed a unique polymer encapsulation system that immobilizes enzymes, stabilizes their performance and extends their operating life. 

 

Akermin, an innovative biocatalyst technologies company and the exclusive developer of proprietary stabilized enzyme catalyst technology, announces a successful funding round.  The company raised $4,955,000 from venture capitalists and other private investors in its Series A Phase II financing round, the first stage of which was completed in March and the second in September 2007.  All investors, including Prolog Ventures, OnPoint Technologies, Chrysalix Energy and the St. Louis Arch Angels, were previous Series A investors in Akermin.  This latest round brings total funding since inception of the company to just under $8.5 million.

 

Funds raised will support continued application development of Akermin's unique polymer encapsulation technology that stabilizes enzymes for enhanced catalytic performance and extended operating lifetimes.   Enzymes are renewable, cost effective, reaction selective and environmentally friendly.  Akermin's platform technology allows enzymes to effectively replace precious metal catalysts now used in many types of fuel cells, and at the same time to reduce production costs and improve operating performance.  The company is currently focused on the prototype development and first commercial production of specialized biofuel cells including thin-film cells sometimes referred to as “bio-batteries”.   The same polymer encapsulation technology can enable and enhance enzyme catalysis in other industrial applications.  Akermin is currently developing corporate relationships to pursue commercial applications for its technology.

 

 “Enzymes are preferable to precious metals as catalysts in many applications because they are highly specific, cost less and can be disposed of more easily without damaging the environment,” explained Louis Hruska, Akermin's President and Chief Executive Officer.  “However, enzymes can be unstable and short-lived.    The Akermin encapsulation technology stabilizes the enzymes, thus extending their life and expanding their operating range. This makes them a viable alternative in some instances and enhances their performance in others.”

 

Akermin received seed funding in March 2004, demonstrated proof of concept and completed funding rounds in late 2005 and early 2007.  Venture capital groups supporting Akermin include Chrysalix Energy, an international venture capital group focused on opportunities in the fuel cell, hydrogen, and related technology areas; OnPoint Technologies, a strategic private equity firm funded by the U.S. Army with the mission to discover, invest in and support companies developing innovative mobile power and energy technology; and Prolog Ventures, a St. Louis-based venture capital firm specializing in life sciences and related information technologies with significant experience in new-enterprise development and growing successful companies.  Other investors include the St. Louis Arch Angel Network, a group investing in early-stage companies with high growth potential in the St. Louis region and helping accelerate them to market leadership.

 

ABOUT AKERMIN

Akermin is a biocatalyst technologies company that has developed a unique polymer encapsulation system that immobilizes enzymes, stabilizes their performance and extends their operating life.  This platform technology enables the development of special purpose, low-cost fuel cells and “bio-batteries”. It also demonstrates the potential to increase efficiency, reduce processing costs and add value in various food, chemical and pharmaceutical production processes.