Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center Highlights Captozyme CEO

Helena Cowley, CEO of Captozyme, which was named a GrowFL Company To Watch in 2017, was the company's first employee. She never set out to be an entrepreneur, but says the process of growing the company has certainly turned her into one. 

Read Helena's interview with Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center and discover her tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
 

PRESS RELEASE: Captozyme Among Florida Companies to Watch

Captozyme, a Gainesville-based biotechnology company, is among 50 statewide companies expected to see significant growth over the next several years. Captozyme was selected from more than 500 nominees for Florida Companies to WatchSM, a statewide program managed by economic development group GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.  

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PRESS RELEASE: CAPTOZYME OPENS UP NEW HEADQUARTERS

GAINESVILLE, FL; April 26, 2017- Upon graduating from the University of Florida’s Innovation Hub, local biotechnology company, Captozyme Inc., recently acquired a newly constructed facility to house their new headquarters at 1622 NW 55th Place. The company plans to consolidate all operations there during the coming months, and is proud to be part of the developing biotechnology scene of Gainesville.

“Settling down in Gainesville is a natural next step in our vision,” said Helena Cowley, Captozyme CEO. “We owe so much of our success to the local community; entrepreneurs, mentors, and particularly the University of Florida Incubators. We are excited to continue growing with the biotech community here.”

The new facility has 7500 sq. ft. of laboratory/office space and will have nearly 1000 sq. ft. of cGMP compliant manufacturing suites for the fermentation and drying of microbiota organisms. Once all moved in, the new headquarters will house 20 employees, though Captozyme is looking to increase this number in the coming months. Good news for other up-and-coming start-up companies is that Captozyme’s graduation from the Innovation Hub frees up space in this growing incubator.

Jane Muir, Director of the Innovation Hub, commented, “Being able to provide the resources and expertise offered by the Innovation Hub early in a company’s formation can significantly impact their likelihood of success. Captozyme is a wonderful example of that and is exactly the type of success story we want to replicate over and over again in our community.” 

Thanks to the effort in the recent years by the University of Florida and the innovation square, Gainesville is quickly becoming a popular destination for developing biotechnology companies. Captozyme is excited to be part of this growing scientific hub and can’t wait to see how the new attention will invigorate the local community. 

About Captozyme, Inc.

Captozyme, Inc. is a biotechnology company dedicated to helping people better manage their diets and overall health. The company plans to launch Nephure in the summer of 2017. With Nephure the company has created a product that allows people to enjoy the foods they love without the consequences of adding oxalate to their body. Captozyme also serves the industry by furthering process development and manufacturing in the field of anaerobic organisms.  Learn more about Captozyme at Captozyme.com.

About the Innovation Hub at the University of Florida
The Innovation Hub is a unique, all-inclusive incubator designed to provide an innovation ecosystem that can significantly impact the success of early-stage companies by “creating collision” among members, partners, visitors, and the general community. The Innovation Hub brings together the public and private sector to provide a wealth of resources for startups of varying stages, including resources, expertise, and programming. The Innovation Hub at the University of Florida is open to both entrepreneurs affiliated with the University and also in the broader community. Learn more at http://floridainnovationhub.ufl.edu/.

Contact:

Helena Cowley

Captozyme Inc.

352 363 2917

Helena@captozyme.com

 

Captozyme graduates from the Innovation Hub

Captozyme is pleased to announce that they have officially graduated from the University of Florida's Innovation Hub. In the fall of 2014 Captozyme found its home at the university's incubator for start-up companies in the technology and biotechnology fields. Now, a little over 2 years later, Captozyme graduates with 14 employees and a new office and lab space in north Gainesville. 

The Innovation Hub has helped over 60 companies launch since opening their doors in 2010, and Captozyme is proud to be among them.  Beyond providing office and lab space, the Innovation Hub helps its companies flourish by providing guidance and educational events to encourage collaboration and teach vital skills to beginning businesses. Captozyme is grateful to the Innovation Hub for all the hard work they do for their companies and the community around them.

 

Captozyme Presents at the 2017 Florida Venture Forum

Captozyme was recently honored in being one of the 20 companies chosen to present at the Florida Venture Forum out of more than 100 applicants. The Florida Venture Forum's mission is to connect emerging Florida-based companies with resources and capital nationwide.  

“The Conference is always a must-attend event for anyone involved in the venture capital and private equity industry in Florida,” added Casey Swercheck, Chairman of the 2017 Florida Venture Capital Conference and Vice President of Capitala Group.

This year the conference was held in Orlando, Florida on February 2-3.

PRESS RELEASE: CAPTOZYME SECURES $3.4 MILLION TO CONTINUE ENZYME RESEARCH

GAINESVILLE, FL; January 20, 2017 – Captozyme Inc., a biotechnology company based in Gainesville, FL, recently raised $3.4 million. Captozyme plans to invest this money into the manufacturing and launch of Nephure, an oxalate-degrading enzyme to facilitate a low-oxalate diet.

“We are humbled by the confidence put in us to continue our research and develop products and aid us in getting these products to the marketplace,” says Aaron Cowley, CEO of Captozyme. “Our team has spent significant time and effort in making our products live up to the expectations of our most important stakeholders, the people who are currently struggling on a low-oxalate diet.”

A low-oxalate diet and normal consumption of calcium is useful in normalizing relatively high urinary oxalate. Sticking to the diet can be hard, especially when there can be a wide range of discrepancies online about what food is generally considered oxalate rich. Nephure’s goal is to make being healthier, easier; it takes away this uncertainty by breaking down the oxalate compound in food.

A low-oxalate diet should limit oxalate intake to 40 to 50 mg each day, though in the USA oxalate intake is estimated to average 150-200 mg each day. Captozyme’s pre-clinical data of Nephure features:

  • 40-60% reduction in urinary oxalate when administered to dogs with high urinary oxalate
  • Successful creation of oxalate-free craft beer and ready to drink tea and juices

About Captozyme

Captozyme is a biotechnology company that is dedicated to helping people better manage their diets and overall health. Through Nephure they have created a product that allows people to enjoy the food they love without the consequences of adding oxalate to their body. Learn more about Captozyme at Captozyme.com and stay up to date on Nephure for when it launches in the summer.

Contact:

Aaron Cowley

Captozyme Inc.

785.760.3128

Aaron.cowley@captozyme.com

 

A Low Oxalate Vegetarian Diet

When physicians suggest diets for patients struggling with calcium-oxalate kidney stones, a low oxalate diet is often recommended. However, for vegetarians, this can pose a problem for their lifestyle, as some of the items with the highest levels of oxalate are vegetables or grains, and therefore make such a diet difficult to balance while still staying healthy with other nutrients. Hope is not lost for vegetarians though, and the following is a collection of some tips for a low oxalate diet that doesn’t require you to bite into the forbidden meats.

First, the oxalate content of plants can change depending on the way they’re planted and grown, and can also have their oxalate reduced by boiling or steaming the vegetables, especially the leaves of leafy greens, and then discarding the water. So it’s recommended that if you are going to eat greens with lots of oxalate, to prepare them in this fashion to decrease the amount of oxalate you’re consuming. With that in mind, the list below will describe what to avoid for certain kinds of foods, and what to eat instead to keep a low oxalate diet.

 

Breakfast:

Avoid:

All-bran cereals, and most cereal advertising wheat or grains. Frosted mini-wheats, and most fruit cereals.

Instead Eat:

Eggs, Coconut flour muffins or pancakes, yogurt with mixed fruit (no granola).

Vegetables:

Avoid:

Beans, beets, raw carrots, okra, rhubarb, parsnip, spinach (raw or cooked), tomato sauce, turnips, or yams.

Instead Eat:

Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, lettuce, mushroom, onions, pickles, radish, scallions, green pepper, or zucchini.

In small amounts, eating asparagus, cooked carrots, brussel sprouts, celery, and string beans are acceptable.

Snacks:

Avoid:

Almost all nuts and seeds except for flax seed, peanut butter, desserts such as brownies, cake, chocolate syrup and fudge, and avoid all potato chips.

Instead Eat:

Fig bars, graham crackers, saltines, Triscuits, wheat thins with reduced fat, apple butter, and Ritz crackers. For dessert, jello, Popsicles, sherbet, and vanilla pudding are good alternatives.

Drinks:

Avoid:

Hot chocolate, lemonade, brewed black tea, or V8 juices.

Instead Drink:

Other fruit juices such as apple juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice. In reasonable servings, these are fine. Though slightly controversial, it has been recently argued that coffee has a relatively low oxalate content, and is safe to drink. The most important thing in a low oxalate diet however is to drink lots of water.

Fruits:

Avoid:

Kiwis, dates, raspberries, star fruit, canned and dried pineapple, and dried figs.

Instead Eat:

Apples, grapes, lemons, peaches, plums, watermelons, fresh pineapple, strawberries, bananas, pears, or cherries.

Meals:

Avoid:

Tofu, veggie burgers, lasagna, spaghetti, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pasta.

Instead Eat:

White rice, macaroni & cheese, popcorn, salads, any of the low oxalate vegetable mentioned, Santa Fe bean salad with black-eyed peas instead of black beans, rice and peas, and eggs in meals are all just a few options.


While it seems like a difficult hurdle to pass, a low oxalate vegetarian diet certainly is not impossible, and there are people willing to help. While most of the items listed were common foods, there are still more foods that have both high and low oxalate contents. So be sure to do some research and ask your doctor for a list of high oxalate foods, and take some time to look into more possible meals yourself.

 

  1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Department Retrieved from the URL: https://regepi.bwh.harvard.edu/health/Oxalate/files

  2. Norris, Jack, Oxalate, December 2013. Retrieved from the URL: http://veganhealth.org/articles/oxalate

  3. Heidi, Low Oxalate Meal Plans for the Low Oxalate Diet, Low Oxalate Info, October 12, 2012. Retrieved from the URL: http://lowoxalateinfo.com/low-oxalate-meal-plans-for-the-low-oxalate-diet/

Promotion of Ms. Meekah Chaderton and Mr. Jeff Heslep to Assistant Laboratory Manager

Captozyme is pleased to announce the promotion of Ms. Meekah Chaderton, BSc, to Assistant Laboratory Manager (Gainesville) and Mr. Jeff Heslep, BSc, to Assistant Laboratory Manager, (Alachua).

Following a summer internship, Ms. Chaderton joined Captozyme in August of 2014 as a Laboratory Technician. Meekah has continued to prove her value and dedication to the company since then and was most recently in the position of Research Assistant.  Ms. Chaderton will assist in managing the laboratories in Gainesville, FL.

Mr. Heslep started in the Service Laboratories at Captozyme in June of 2015.  In only a year's time, Jeff has demonstrated versatility with scientific procedures, research aptitude, and leadership skills, and he continuously ensures success in his projects.  Mr. Heslep will assist in managing the laboratories in Alachua, FL.

Captozyme COO Featured in Florida's High Tech Corridor Magazine

Florida's High Tech Corridor Council has been promoting collaboration among Corridor universities since 1996 and continues to make great achievements in economic development initiatives.

Captozyme is excited to have our COO, Helena Cowley, presented as one of the "Faces of Technology" in this year's publication. 

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Shedding Some Light on Kidney Stones

When most people hear of someone with a kidney stone, they often assume that every kidney stone is the same. While easy to assume, this is simply not true, and there are important distinctions to be made for different kinds of kidney stones. Each stone is formed from different kinds of materials, and therefore can be prevented with different diets or interventions. For example, with calcium oxalate stones, one might want to reduce oxalate in the diet. However, if the stone does not include oxalate, then this advice and change in diet would be unnecessary. In order to uncover what type of stone someone has, the type of stone can be determined by a doctor after it has been passed, or by identifying the chemicals in one’s blood or urine.

There are five more common kidney stones, starting with the most common; calcium oxalate.

Calcium oxalate stones are comprised of calcium oxalate, and there are two different forms of this type. Calcium oxalate monohydrate, and calcium oxalate dihydrate. Calcium oxalate monohydrate stones are harder and more resistant to fragmentation, and appear more often with higher levels of oxalate.

Calcium phosphate stones are the second most common stones, and is the bonding of calcium to phosphate instead of oxalate. There are also two different kinds of these stones, and they can form into either brushite or hydroxyapatite. Brushite is extra hard and resistant to shock treatments, while hydroxyapatite can actually plug the kidney tubules and injure kidney cells.

Uric acid kidney stones are about as common as calcium phosphate stones, but are different. Uric acid is a breakdown product of DNA and RNA, and forms when the urine is too acidic. The stones are red or orange, and can form rapidly. Uric acid does not have to bond with any other chemicals like calcium phosphate or oxalate, and therefore can form in seconds, but can also be passed quickly unless the stones are retained in the kidney. If so, they can grow to become quite large. However, since they are dependent on the acidity of the urine, they can be treated with alkali supplement. Occasionally though, uric acid stones might mix with calcium oxalate stones, which can be much more difficult to break up.

The second to last of the more common stones are struvite stones. These kidney stones are a combination of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate, and cannot be made by the kidneys themselves. They are only able to exist because of the workings of bacteria. The soil bacteria from outside can find its way into our systems, bringing with it the ability to convert urea to ammonia, which then crystallizes with magnesium and phosphate, which are always found in urine. The stones can become large, and the bacteria can injure the kidneys, or enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis.

The last of these kidney stones are cystine stones, which are only formed in those with cystinuria; an inherited kidney disease. These stones come from cysteine, and grow to be extremely large, grow quickly, and can cause damage to the kidneys cells if not treated.

While these five are the main stones found in humans, there are a few kidney stones that are much more rare, and often are forms of mixed stones. As seen in the varying types of stones, there is much more to the condition than the broad terminology of a simple kidney stone.

 

1. Coe, F. Type of Kidney Stones – A Primer. Retrieved from URL: http://kidneystones.uchicago.edu/types-of-stones/

2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). (2013 November). Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention. Retrieved from URL: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/diet-for-kidney-stone-prevention/Pages/facts.aspx

A New Direction in Healthier Living

While Captozyme is currently working on developing ways to decrease the prevalence and inconvenience of calcium oxalate kidney stones, there are simple strategies or habits that anyone can do to decrease the risk of forming a kidney stone. Although many do not even think about the dangers of developing kidney stones, they can be an extremely painful experience, and are worth trying to avoid. There is also an increased risk for those with a family history of kidney stones, which can be decreased through simple changes in one’s lifestyle.

So what can you do to help prevent kidney stones in general? One extremely simple step is to increase liquid consumption. The type of liquid matters, as the oxalate in beverages such as sweet tea lead to an increase in risk, while beverages such as coffee decrease the risk of stones. It is recommended to drink anywhere from two and half to three liters of liquid per day, mostly consisting of water. Also, maintaining a normal intake of calcium in one’s diet helps, along with the decrease of salt, animal-protein, and foods filled with oxalate. The recommended amount of oxalate in foods that should be consumed in order to reduce oxalate kidney stones is forty to fifty milligrams of oxalate a day. Some vegetables that are low in oxalate are as follows; peas, mushrooms, cucumbers, radishes, and cabbage.

In summary, it is recommended to exercise and keep a healthy diet that contains the suggested daily intake of calcium and liquids, while being low in oxalate, salt and animal-protein. There are also medical supplements being developed by companies such as Captozyme that are working to ensure that you no longer have to fear the pain of a kidney stone.

A New Step in Health

In our modern world, we are almost constantly bombarded with different ideas and discoveries in health products, and theories on how to become healthier. We are finally discovering the causes for many of our health problems that we have faced for years, which has required us to create products and solutions to overcome these problems and improve our lives. While we might have addressed plenty of health related issues, there are still so many we have yet to develop fully. So what is the next step? Captozyme believes that there is more we can do in products and procedures to help improve our health and therefore humankind, and is working to achieve exactly that. Captozyme is a researching company that focuses primarily on anti-nutrients such as oxalate, and developing enzyme products for people with hyperoxaluria and kidney stones.

Hyperoxaluria means that a person has increased urine oxalate, which can cause formation of calcium oxalate, the primary component of most kidney stones. These oxalates can be found in a variety of products that we commonly ingest on a daily basis, and therefore are often unknowingly dangerous to those with hyperoxaluria. At Captozyme we strive to develop ways to administer more of our enzymes in order to decrease the build-up of oxalate, and as a result, assist kidney stone formers in leading healthier lives.