Subscribe to Florida Trend

NAVIGATION

September 24, 2018
Chemical break down

Photo:

Aaron and Helena Cowley founded Captozyme. Nephure, developed by a subsidiary, breaks oxalate apart.

Northeast Florida Roundup

Chemical break down

A Gainesville couple's company targets oxalate overload.

Mark Basch | 2/27/2018

Innovation in Florida

Oxalate is a naturally occurring chemical found in most plant foods and is produced as an end product as the body metabolizes vitamin C. Some who consume foods with high levels of oxalate — including spinach, bran flakes, beets, potato chips, French fries and nuts and nut butters — can develop kidney stones or other problems, particularly if they consume too little calcium and too much protein.

While some people can benefit from a low-oxalate diet, few are actually aware of it. “There’s really nothing out there to assist with that,” says Helena Cowley, CEO of a firm called Captozyme in Gainesville, which she founded with her husband, Aaron.

A subsidiary of Captozyme launched a product last fall called Nephure, a powder that dissolves in beverages and is designed to help break apart oxalate.

Helena Cowley, who earned a master’s degree in bioengineering in her native Sweden, came to Gainesville in 2007 for an internship. While there, she met Aaron, who has degrees in biochemistry. She returned to Gainesville in 2009, and the couple started the company as they researched enzymes to treat oxalaterelated conditions.

The Cowleys earned recognition for their work before launching the product, receiving a Governor’s Young Entrepreneur Award from Gov. Rick Scott in 2015. Cowley hopes their work will lead to more awareness of oxalate and its possible impact.

“It has never been the goal to just push a product,” she says. “We want to be an educational resource.”

Tags: Northeast, Environment, Life Sciences, Lifestyle, Technology/Innovation

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Miami Beach considers annexing western Venetian Islands
Miami Beach considers annexing western Venetian Islands

Two of the Venetian Islands are part of Miami while the other four belong to Miami Beach. Some residents of Biscayne and San Marco islands say they want to join Miami Beach, but they face an uphill battle.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

With Florida's government projecting a positive budget outlook, what do you think is the most important for state to invest in?

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health care reform
  • Infrastructure
  • Not spending it, keeping cash reserve
  • Public safety
  • Other (comments welcome)

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe