US-based material sciences company TerraSafe Materials has partnered with the Penn State Research Foundation (PSRF) to commercialise sustainable packaging solutions.  

This partnership will focus on the development of materials to replace single-use plastics across various industries, including food, construction, agriculture, and transportation. 

As part of the collaboration, TerraSafe is set to inaugurate its first rural research and development facility at Innovation Park at the Penn State university.  

At this site, the company will conduct trials on material technologies created by Penn State researchers and help commercialise intellectual property in the biomaterials sector. 

The technologies at the heart of this agreement were developed by a team led by Jeffrey Catchmark, a professor at Penn State.  

According to Catchmark, the licensed patents and technologies primarily involve new composites made from low-cost, naturally derived materials such as polysaccharides, including cellulose and starch.  

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Catchmark said: “Our research focuses on increasing sustainability and positive change for society through translational research that can have real environmental and economic impact through collaborations with industry.”  

TerraSafe is the inaugural portfolio company of Big Idea Venture’s Generation Food Rural Partners I, LP Fund (GFRP Fund).  

The GFRP Fund, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Program, invests in companies based on agricultural and food innovation, aiming to stimulate economic growth in rural areas. 

TerraSafe CEO Scott Bolin said: “I’ve been very impressed with the innovative and entrepreneurial culture at Penn State, and we are excited to have licensed some groundbreaking technology, which will reduce our daily exposure to microplastics, making the world a safer and healthier place.  

“We’re committed to being a part of the Penn State ecosystem and are looking forward to our lab opening at Innovation Park in the coming weeks.”