Somerville, MA (February 7th, 2019)

“The National Science Foundation hereby awards a grant of $225,000 to ZWITTERCO, INC for support of the project described in the proposal referenced above…This award is expected to total $225,000. This project under the direction of Christopher J. Drover, Ayse Asatekin is entitled: “STTR Phase I: Extremely fouling-resistant nanofiltration membranes treating organic-rich wastewater.” The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

ZwitterCo, Inc. has been awarded additional research funding from the National Science Foundation to expand the capabilities and commercial applications of its breakthrough zwitterionic chemistry platform. The goal of the grant is to help support innovative, high-risk research projects (TRL 1-3) that could substantially improve technology or processes, but that require capital, personnel, and resources that would be challenging to divert to activities without an immediate commercial focus. The award is an STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer Research) grant, which is a sub-class of the NSF’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program and focuses more on the partnership between the primary commercialization entity and an academic or other research group. ZwitterCo will include Dr. Ayse Asatekin’s laboratory in the chemical engineering department of Tufts University as a sub-awardee on the grant. Dr. Asatekin is the original inventor of ZwitterCo’s technology, which was licensed through the Tufts Office of Technology Transfer in 2018.

The research effort sponsored by the grant will be led by Christopher Drover, ZwitterCo’s Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Drover commented that, “for ZwitterCo, Dr. Asatekin’s discovery has always represented a platform that would ultimately support a diverse set of technologies and applications. But as a nascent water company, it is a balance to be lean with our appropriation of resources. The STTR gives us the opportunity to pursue both threads simultaneously: intense focus on our entry-market product development and execution, as well as frontier research to expand the chemistry for future products.”

The research will be conducted at both the Asatekin laboratory at Tufts University and ZwitterCo’s headquarters at Greentown Labs in Somerville throughout 2019 and 2020. For more information, please reach out to