Inside the intense, messy fight about “wholesome” sugar tech
Tagatose, a “exceptional sugar”, is just about as sweet as desk sugar but has all around 50 % the energy.


Right before that e-mail, Rogers experienced proposed splitting CFB, leaving Zhang his sci-fi bio-battery and sugar-to-hydrogen principles, even though Rogers would commercialize the nearer-time period scarce sugars. Zhang dismissed the notion, and to no one’s shock, he did not renew Rogers’s CEO deal, later on citing his “failure to raise a one financial investment greenback.” But Rogers, who retained a little stake in the organization as aspect of his compensation, was not completely ready to walk away. At the stop of December 2015, he sent CFB an e-mail referencing a “glaring” contradiction amongst statements the business had created in NSF grant purposes even though he was interim CEO and statements designed by Zhang. 

As an illustration, Rogers pointed out that though Zhang experienced instructed him the rights to the output procedure for sugar phosphates were being Chinese, a person application mentioned that CFB owned the legal rights and would commercialize the system in the US. “If there is a difficulty,” Rogers warned, “I can’t appear the other way. Of program, any whiff of grant fraud will bring about possible licensees and potential investors to flee.”

In the e-mail, Rogers reiterated his recommendation that CFB transfer the legal rights for tagatose and a further rare sugar identified as arabinose, as perfectly as the legal rights for the sugar phosphates method, to a new startup he was intending to variety. But he preferred to transfer quick, ideally in just a week. “If you require additional time, please permit me know, but time is working shorter in various ways,” he wrote. 

Zhang yet again refused to break up the corporation, and on January 6, 2016, time ran out. Rogers included Bonumose in the point out of Virginia and, 9 times later, sent an electronic mail to the NSF’s Business of Inspector Basic entitled “Report of possible NSF grant fraud.”

It quoted from some seemingly damning email messages in between Zhang and Rogers. In a single, sent in the summer of 2015, Zhang writes: “About sugar phosphate task, the experiments have been done by one particular of my collaborators and my satellite lab in China. The engineering transfer will happen in China only. If this challenge is funded by [the NSF], most of income will be applied to fund the other undertaking in CFB.” That meant the promising tagatose study, which experienced not yet obtained any formal NSF funding.

Yet another, pertaining to a next NSF inositol proposal, took a comparable tack: “Nearly all experiments … have been completed. Chun You [CFB’s chief scientist] and I have submitted a Chinese patent on behalf of ourselves, no relation to CFB … If it is funded, most of [the NSF money] will be applied for CFB to guidance the other projects.” 

Working with government resources for a diverse reason from the just one for which they were awarded is strictly, and explicitly, forbidden. Within just weeks, the NSF had started its investigation and suspended all payments to CFB.

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