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At Cornell

Partnering with Cornell Centers
for Company Startup

Novermer product


Eisenhut, Hamilton, and Coates

(l. to r.) Tony Eisenhut, Charles Hamilton, and Geoffrey Coates

Novomer is an Ithaca-based startup company that has utilized a variety of university resources to get started and to accelerate growth. Founded in 2004, Novomer makes polymers and plastics from carbon dioxide and other renewable materials. The company is based on discoveries made by Geoffrey Coates’ research group in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Coates and his research team had been developing novel catalysts for use with biodegradable polymers for several years. This research was partially funded through Cornell’s New York State Center for Advanced Technology, known as the Center for Life Science Enterprise. The center identifies and funds research that can lead to significant economic development within the state.

As the research progressed, one of Coates graduate students, Scott Allen, became interested in the commercial possibilities for the technology produced by the research. He and Coates began developing an innovative catalyst system that would enable the synthesis of new, customizable plastics and materials in order to streamline current industrial processes, with a focus on sustainability. The technology consisted of proprietary catalyst systems that can help create materials used in existing and emerging fields such as advanced ceramics, energy storage, food packaging, flat panel displays, automotive manufacturing, and drug delivery. Working with Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise, and Commercialization (CCTEC), the intellectual property was developed into a suite of patents that would provide the necessary intellectual property protection for the start-up company.


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