NineSigma, representing a global tobacco company, invites proposals for technologies to enable degrading or sequestering of nicotine in the production of very low nicotine tobacco while maintaining its sensorial attributes.
Nicotine is a substance that occurs naturally in tobacco leaves. The possibility exists that future governmental regulations will require a significant reduction in the concentration of nicotine in combustible tobacco products. One possible method to reduce nicotine content is through extraction where tobacco solubles are filtered through a material which selectively removes only the nicotine. Preferably this technology should not negatively affect the flavor profile of the end product, have undesirable side reactions, or cause disruptions in the process, such as to pH or temperature requirements, which would make implementation a challenge. NineSigma’s client desires a cost-effective technology to significantly lower levels of nicotine in tobacco by 98% or greater relative to those found naturally in tobacco.
Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan
Phase 1: Identify available technology and verification or development of selected technology – up to 6 months
Phase 2: Technology verification in pilot scale or scale up possibility assessment – 6 to 12 months
Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2
Client will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization.
Key Success Criteria
The successful technology will:
Reduce nicotine in tobacco by >98%
Retain the sensorial and flavor characteristics of the tobacco
Be scalable to an industrial level
Solutions that provide a novel application methodology while meeting the other requirements are also of interest.
Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:
Antibodies, peptides, or other molecules that will selectively adhere to nicotine
Technologies adapted from other industries, such as:
Approaches not of Interest
The following approaches are not of interest:
Approaches that affect the sensorial attributes, especially the flavor profile, of the tobacco
Items to be Submitted
Your response should address the following:
Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
Percent reduction in nicotine concentration or ppm achieved by the technology
Effect of the sequestering process on sensorial characteristics and flavor compounds of the tobacco
Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
Pathway to industrial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
Estimated unit cost of the technology
Position on intellectual property including patent references
Desired relationship with sponsor
Team description and related experience
Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.
Preferred Collaboration Types
Contract Analysis and Testing
To Be Negotiated
Area of Interest
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology > Molecular Engineering
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology > Molecular Nanotechnology