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Innovation & Startups

Oakland's ATRP raises $1.2 million for blockbuster polymer, HIRING!

Oakland-based ATRP Solutions is generating a large buzz with a small ingredient, a revolutionary "designer polymer" that will substantially improve cosmetics and corner a share of the billion dollar cosmetics market.

ATRP plans to expand and hire with the help of a $1.2 million funding round from four investors including Audrey's Kitchen, a fund managed by the McGinnis family of Pittsburgh, and PLSG. In addition, the National Science Foundation has given ATRP two grants totaling $600,000 to support an advanced  manufacturing effort.

Two chemists will be added to the team of seven (plus contractors) this year and ATRP plans to move to a larger space, yet to be determined. The polymer is expected to go on the market in the next 12 months, says Patrick McCarthy, ATRP president.

ATRP is short for atom transfer radical polymerization, a highly evolved process that creates designer products for specific products. The process was developed over 12 years by Carnegie Mellon's Kris Matyjaszewski and founding team member Wojciech Jakubowski.

"Each polymer can be designed for optimal performance," explains McCarthy. "We can sit down at a table and draft a plan for polymers much like an architect. We can design and build ingredients that will create breakthrough products."

Dubbed Advantomer, the polymer is a non-active thickening agent that will enhance makeups and  lotions, giving them a distinct feel and longer shelf life. The solution also requires manufacturers to use less petro chemicals and fewer ingredients in products while improving their performance. Matyjaszewski won a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2009 for developing lower-risk alternatives in chemical and industrial production.

ATRP is beta testing the polymer with nine multi-national companies. The company expects to be acquired by a larger specialty polymer company.

"At the end of the day, it enables ATRP Solutions to make designer polymers that nobody in the world can make which gives us a strategic advantage," says McCarthy.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Patrick McCarthy, ATRP

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