Grow-NY Finalists and NSF-Funded Halomine Targets COVID-19

Grow-NY Finalists and NSF-Funded Halomine Targets COVID-19

The commercialization of a Cornell-created antimicrobial coating technology that keeps surfaces clean by extending the life of chlorine-based disinfectants – by days and even weeks – is being fast-tracked to determine how well it can combat COVID-19.

Its potential to prevent COVID-19 from contaminating private and public spaces has attracted the interest of the National Science Foundation, which on May 21 awarded the company $256,000 from its COVID-19 Rapid Response Research (RAPID) program to expedite the product’s development. The company received a separate $225,000 RAPID grant from the NSF on May 12 to fight hospital-based infections related to COVID-19.

The technology grew out of collaboration between Minglin Ma, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and former postdoctoral researcher Mingyu Qiao. Qiao joined Ma’s lab in 2017 to work on a USDA-funded project developing high-performance antimicrobial materials for agriculture and food safety.

Ma and Qiao realized their coating technology – a thin-film polymer that can be sprayed on surfaces to safely prolong the life of disinfectants – had public health applications as well. Last year, they partnered with Ted Eveleth, MBA ’90, to launch Halomine Inc., with support from the Praxis Center for Venture Development and the Cornell Center for Materials Research.

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