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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

 
Dr Jamie Walters, Calyxia CEO

CEB alumnus Dr Jamie Walters is the co-founder and CEO of Calyxia, a breakthrough new microcapsule company anchored in the Paris region.

The company operates across global business markets and recently raised over three million euros from the European Commission and private investment.

Before founding Calyxia in 2015, Jamie was a PhD student (2008 – 2012) and post-doctoral researcher (2012 – 2014) in Professor Lisa Hall’s Cambridge Analytical Biotechnology Group here in our department. 

Jamie openly credits Professor Lisa Hall for helping him to refine and nurture many of the skills needed to build and spearhead a successful start-up enterprise. Jamie also believes that the many interactions with students on our Masters in Bioscience Enterprise course, alongside the overarching entrepreneurial spirit in the department, helped to foster his hunger for a start-up adventure of his own. 

In March 2014, Jamie was recruited by Professor Jérôme Bibette at the City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI Paris PSL). His goal was to invent a new microcapsule technology that could enable active ingredients to be protected against degradation in temperatures exceeding at 200°C, and then be delivered to a target site upon exposure to a mechanical stimulus.

Within six months, Jamie and his colleague, Damien Démoulin, had invented this microcapsule technology and validated its performance in a project with world-leading energy company, Total.

It soon became apparent that this technology could present massive benefits to many other ingredients and markets, improving the safety and performance of formulated products. In November 2014, Jamie, Damien, Jérôme and Professor David Weitz from Harvard University, decided to embark on an entrepreneurial project, and in June 2015, Calyxia was officially born, with the shareholders selecting Jamie to be the CEO.

The proprietary technology of Calyxia is a completely new industrially scalable process to produce high performance microcapsules. The process enables the production of monodisperse microcapsules with fine control over the capsule diameter, between 1 µm – 20 µm. Most importantly, the Calyxia process produces microcapsules in which the size of the pores in the shell is <1 nm and are thus considered non-porous.

Calyxia microcapsules have widespread yet unique applications, including adhesives and sealants, lubricants and fuels, paints and coating products, and advanced materials. Furthermore, the Calyxia process is adaptable to over 100 different shell chemistries, allowing the company to design microcapsules specifically for each application. Calyxia technology is the highest performing technology on the market for ingredient containment, protection and delivery. Calyxia microcapsules are the only microcapsule technology that combine both biodegradability and performance; the shell can be designed from safe, bio-sourced and biodegradable materials. This is particularly important as, from 2024, new EU regulations will ban the use of non-biodegradable microcapsules in home and fabric care products in Europe, with the ban to extend to agricultural products shortly afterwards.

From two employees  based within Professor Bibette's lab in 2015, today Calyxia is a business-to-business revenue generating company with around 20 employees designing, industrially manufacturing ,and supplying a breakthrough generation of microcapsules. Calyxia’s vision is to be in the top three microcapsule companies by 2023 and world leading by 2028. The competitive advantages of Calyxia’s proprietary and versatile microcapsule technology platform, in addition to the cost-effective industrialisation potential, has enabled Calyxia to form partnerships with an extensive array of the world’s most successful formulated product companies in the home and fabric care, agriculture, paints and coatings, adhesive and sealants, lubricants and fuels, and advanced materials markets.

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