AgBioResearch scientist’s firm is first Bioeconomy Institute Tenant in Holland

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Rawle Hollingsworth, biochemistry researcher, is the first tenant in the MSU Bioeconomy Institute. (view larger image)

A technology spinoff company led by MAES biochemistry researcher Rawle Hollingsworth is the first tenant in the MSU Bioeconomy Institute, located in a former Pfizer Inc. laboratory in Holland, Mich.

Hollingsworth has operated his company, AFID Therapeutics Inc., in laboratory space at MBI International in Lansing since 2004, developing technology licensed from MSU. It now will expand development work in western Michigan.

Hollingsworth’s research on complex carbohydrates derived from biomass and sugars forms the basis for developing high-value chemical compounds. The compounds can be used to create drugs for infectious diseases and autoimmune, cardiovascular and neurological disorders, as well as specialty chemicals for other purposes.

AFID is developing material for more than 100 companies around the world to use for testing and further development.

“At MBI, we are working in a laboratory where we can produce 3 or 4 liters [about 1 gallon] of biochemical product,” Hollingsworth said. “At the Bioecononmy Institute in Holland, we have access to a pilot plant where we can process 4,000-liter batches.”

Scale-up of AFID Therapeutics’ processes began in late May under the leadership of William Freckman, MSU‘s Holland site director of operations. Ultimately, AFID Therapeutics hopes to employ 10 engineers and chemists there in addition to a similar number at its Lansing laboratory.

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