Enzymes company moves to RTP – a “hub of bright and ambitious talent” – from New York

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Curie Co, a New York-based early-stage enzyme company, moved to Research Triangle Park and hired an industry veteran with North Carolina ties as chief technology officer.

“This move brings the company closer to potential top talent and allows it to benefit from the state’s favorable business climate as well as RTP’s biotechnology and biomanufacturing resources,” Curie Co said in a press release announcing the move.

“RTP is a hub of bright, ambitious talent and well-established industrial biotechnology infrastructure and resources,” said Erika Milczek, Ph.D., CEO and Founder of Curie Co. “This move allows us to grow and to grow as a business alongside this incredible community.

Erika Milczek, Ph.D. (Photo Cie Curie)

The company’s new chief technology officer is Alan Berry, Ph.D., who has spent the past 17 years in metabolic engineering and microbial development roles at Novozymes North America, a Danish enzyme company headquartered in North American social is in Franklinton, North Carolina, and operates in RTP. .

Berry will lead the development of Curie Co’s technology to meet the demands of “many industrial applications and markets,” according to the company. He is an applied microbiologist with over 30 years of experience in the industrial biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries.

“I joined Curie Co because the technology our company has developed addresses a real unmet need across multiple industries while being both technologically and commercially realistic,” Berry said. “The cutting-edge technology, exceptional industry experience and track record of the management team, combined with the bright and energetic scientists who deliver our results in the lab every day, set our enzyme products up for resounding success. I am thrilled to do part of the trip.

Berry is a contributing author of 40 journal articles and book chapters and is co-inventor of several issued patents representing eight patent families.

In search of better preservatives

Curie Co develops natural enzymes as more effective and environmentally friendly substitutes for chemical preservatives in personal care products such as soaps, shampoos, skin care creams and beauty products.

These products generally contain preservatives derived from petrochemicals. According to the company, consumer trends, sustainability issues and regulatory changes have prompted formulators of these products to seek bio-based alternatives.

“Our process produces cost-effective, bio-based preservatives that are orders of magnitude better than chemicals and have a net positive impact on the planet,” the Curie Co website states. “Due to the inherent catalytic nature of enzymes, we we can do more with less.”

For example, one ton of Curie Co’s biodegradable enzymes can replace 100 tons of phenoxyethanol, the main preservative in personal care products, the website says. “Our solution will radically reduce the amount of chemicals entering our environment, our bodies and our waterways.”

The company declined to disclose the specific products Curie Co is developing or the partnerships it has formed, but said the company’s customers range from multinational corporations to challenger brands in the personal care industry.

“We work with household names and leading manufacturers of products ranging from hand soap and body wash to shampoo and conditioner to sunscreen and beauty products,” the company said in a statement.

Want to grow

Curie Co moved from Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLabs facility to New York. JLabs are regional incubators that support early-stage health technology companies with lab space, expertise, industry connections, entrepreneurial programs and other services.

Curie Co is now leasing laboratory space to Alexandria Real Estate Equities at 6 Davis Drive at RTP.

The company has 21 employees and is looking to recruit more.

“We are specifically looking for ambitious scientists willing to work with an interdisciplinary team of chemists, biologists and engineers,” the company said. “We’re looking for people who want to advance science to solve big, civilization-wide problems.”

People who fit this description should submit resumes to [email protected] regardless of job openings, the company said.

Idea born in a hair salon

Milczek, a former senior research chemist at Merck & Co., founded Curie Co in 2017. She named the company after 19th-century physicist and chemist Marie Curie and an inspirational quote attributed to the Nobel laureate: “ Nothing in life is to be feared, only to be understood.

The idea for the business came to Milczek in a hair salon when hot air from a hair dryer sprayed on a treatment his stylist was applying. She immediately recognized the smell of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical.

Milczek realized there was a market opportunity to replace dangerous preservatives in consumer products with safer organic alternatives.

“I am a chemist. I can find better solutions,” she thought, recounting the moment in a 2020 interview with Chemical and Engineering News.

(C) NC Biotechnology Center

Back To Top