Dewhurst Announces Emerging Technology Fund Award at Texas Tech University

Company spun off from technology developed through Texas Tech’s International Center for Food Industry Excellence.

Written by Cory Chandler

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today announced the approval of an Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) award, up to $1.5 million for MicroZAP, a bio-technology company specializing in food safety.

MicroZAP was spun off from patented technology developed through cutting-edge food sterilization research at Texas Tech University’s International Center for Food Industry ExcellenceSen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) joined Dewhurst for the announcement.

“Not only could this new technology lead to significant advances in food safety for everyone, but also this ETF grant hopefully will help MicroZAP grow into a thriving bio-tech company that creates new jobs and economic development opportunities for Lubbock,” Dewhurst said.

MicroZAP uses directional microwaves delivered at varying doses and intensities in order to target disease-causing microorganisms with great precision. The technology has even demonstrated the ability to kill the deadly MRSA bacterium.

“The EFT funds will allow us to move the MicroZap technology forward, thus providing safer food products in the supermarket, which will ultimately reduce the number of food-borne illnesses and lead to safer food on America’s dinner tables,” said Mindy Brashears, director of the International Center for Food Industry Excellence.

The company has already had discussions with larger corporations regarding new technology applications.

"It’s this kind of research, development and commercialization that will help universities like Texas Tech achieve Tier One status in Texas.  Creating more Tier One universities is critical to our state’s future; not only will they provide greater opportunities in higher education for our fast-growing population, they will lead to more life-saving and life-improving innovation that can be commercialized and create new jobs,” Dewhurst said.

Duncan said the announcement reflects an essential step toward advancing Texas” position as a leader in new technology.

“This research presents tremendous potential for our community, our nation’s food supply and our university’s future Tier One status.  I appreciate the leadership of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Gov. Rick Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus and their vision, which recognizes the importance of these programs in Texas.”

MicroZAP will receive $500,000 at the beginning of the company’s contract with the state.  As the company achieves milestones agreed to in the final contract, it may receive up to $1 million in additional ETF award funds.  The state will take an equity position in the company for its investment.

The ETF was created by the Texas Legislature in 2005.  The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House must jointly approve each ETF grant based upon the review and recommendations of a 17-member advisory committee made up of leaders in the fields of business and research.

CONTACT: Mindy Brashears, director, International Center for Food Industry Excellence, Texas Tech University, (806) 2805 ext. 235 or mindy.brashears@ttu.edu.