Protabit Receives NSF Award for Biofuels Research

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National Science Foundation Awards Phase I Small Business Innovative Research Grant for Engineering Cellulase Enzymes.

The National Science Foundation awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to Protabit, LLC, a Pasadena-based spin-out from the California Institute of Technology. The grant will be used to engineer cellulase enzymes that are used in the production of biofuels from non-edible corn stover biomass.

Protabit is the developer of Triad, a computational protein design software platform that is used to generate new enzymes for experimental evaluation. Triad is the product of research by thought leaders in the field including Prof. Stephen Mayo, chair of the Division of Biology at Caltech and a co-founder of the company.

Dr. Barry Olafson, CEO and Co-Founder said, “We are pleased to receive this grant from the NSF, which will enable Protabit to accelerate its development of novel cellulases for second generation biofuels. Triad’s computational capabilities will provide a rich source of high-performance enzyme sequences for evaluation and testing. Our research seeks to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil without impacting the global food supply.”

About Protabit LLC

Protabit LLC engineers proteins for industrial, agricultural, and healthcare applications. The company’s platform technology is being developed via a strategic partnership with the Monsanto Company. Protabit’s protein engineering approach combines computational modeling with high-throughput screening and directed evolution to expand the diversity of protein sequences that can be explored to produce novel proteins. For additional information please visit

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Barry Olafson, CEO
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