January 31, 2017 blake.garcia

The results are in!



The LAUNCH 2016 Chemistry Innovation Challenge has ended and five winning innovations will help accelerate a shift towards more sustainable molecules, mixtures, and materials. All five will all attend a Circular Innovation Summit at Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon, on March 2-3.

Meet our Innovators here:

  • ​Environmental Genome Initiative: Mapping the Global Web of Chemicals and Materials: Professor Matthew Realff, Professor Olivier Jolliet, and Dr. Michael Overcash are leading a team whose goal is to fully map the environmental genome (EG). They would create an open-source database and map of origin and development, in both time and place, of molecular building processes for the approximately 100,000 chemicals and materials used commercially to build nearly every product in current use by global society. For the first time, chemists, material scientists, and others will be able to utilize — quickly and in detail — the properties and environmental impacts at each stage of manufacture from the earth’s resources through the resultant product or innovation they produce.
  • Dow Cheminformatics: The Dow Chemical Company’s project focuses on integrated mechanistic predictors of acute toxicity. Here is how they describe their work: “We are developing a tiered framework wherein salient safety information for potential acute toxicity can be derived early in product development. We are (1) compiling large inventories of acute toxicity data, (2) systematically deriving and cataloguing potential mechanisms associated with such toxicity, and (3) using various structural profiling capabilities to screen chemicals for structural features associated with those mechanisms. We are developing a workflow that integrates implementing mechanistic screening approaches early in product assessment.”

  • Snapdragon Chemistry is developing computer controlled flow chemistry systems which optimize reactions with extensive data collection from in-line analytics; connected to optimization algorithms these systems will perform automated reaction optimization. The optimized conditions discovered are readily scalable from lab to production without need for further optimization. The data generated by these synthesis machines and associated optimization algorithms provide a digital record of the reaction. The resulting data set can eventually be used by a machine to learn synthetic chemistry.

  • ViridisChem: World pollution is one of the most urgent issues and must be addressed immediately. The root cause of this problem is the toxicity introduced by man-made products and toxic waste generated during manufacturing into air, water, and soil. To solve this problem, Green Chemistry experts are prescribing early toxicity focus right from design-stage throughout the product development life-cycle. ViridisChem creates software solutions that address world pollution problems by providing all the data and analysis needed by scientists to practice toxicity-aware research throughout product development life-cycle. Its products tabulate and delineate the toxicity profiles of over 90 million chemicals in easy-to-understand visual format; provide comprehensive green analysis of chemicals and complex processes to identify cost, waste and toxicity implications; and postulate improvements with better alternatives.

  • Wiley Science Solutions: The team’s project is the Wiley ChemPlanner, a state-of-the-art computer-aided synthesis design (CASD) software that uses a rule-based approach to predict multiple complete synthesis routes to target compounds, even if the targets are novel entities. ChemPlanner's predictions are supported by empirical data from millions of known reactions in the literature, and advanced chemoinformatics algorithms perform retrosynthesis to generate tens of potential synthesis options from commercially available starting materials to assist chemists in creating new, resource-efficient chemical syntheses.

We at LAUNCH believe the future of chemistry is smart, data-rich, and data-driven, and are incredibly excited about the possibilities these five projects bring to the table. Congrats to the winners!