Marlee Tech, Inc.

Oregon State University, 2010 - $14,500

Shikimic acid is an essential component in the manufacture of the anti-pandemic influenza drug Tamiflu and a valuable precursor in many other chemical syntheses. However, the low availability and high cost of shikimic acid limits the global ability to either stockpile or ramp up Tamiflu production in a pandemic emergency.

The Marlee Tech team is seeking to cost-effectively supply shikimic acid from a renewable wheat source using an environmentally benign bio-enhancement process. The proprietary method involves a chemical treatment process to induce the plant into producing very high levels of shikimic acid that can then be readily extracted in economic quantities.

The team won the 2009 OSU business plan competition and incorporated as Marlee Tech, Inc. The company is now looking to demonstrate technological feasibility and scalability and secure IP to move toward commercialization.