WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - A nutritional supplement was developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement by the Air Force Research Laboratory and industry partner, MusclePharm Inc.
The initial request for an improved supplement came from an Air Force combat controller, who explained to Dr. Reginald O’Hara, a research physiologist in AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing, that mixing several different packets adds hassle to his already demanding job as a special operator and removes his focus from the battlefield.
“As an Air Force researcher, there’s no greater joy than to have a warfighter reach out directly,” said O’Hara. “After that request, I was excited to come back to the lab and really dig in—I wanted to see what was already out there and if we could help develop something better for these guys.”
O’Hara stated that he not only hoped to create a better product, but also to reduce the weight carried in their rucksacks. So he began to explore options, and reached out to industry partners to collaborate and leverage resources.
There are several types of collaborative agreements that support research and development between the government and industry or academia. One of these is a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA. A CRADA is a technology transfer collaborative tool used by the Air Force to reduce the cost of research and development by leveraging resources in the private sector to develop technology.
Under this CRADA with MusclePharm Inc., O’Hara and his team began developing this supplement, now called MCN-40, or Mission Critical Nutrition. This single-serve, pre-packaged powder supplement provides 40 grams of hydrolyzed quality protein, 430 calories, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
Also part of this product’s lifecycle is a patent license agreement, which allows a company to market, manufacture and sell an Air Force invention. Newcomer Arms, LLC launched this product to the public in March 2019 under a patent license agreement with the Air Force.
Darryl Nowak, Newcomer Arms chairman and CEO, said several factors led him to select this supplement, one being that “there’s nothing like it in the market.” For licensing of the formula, he stated that he partnered with 711HPW and TechLink, a third-party Department of Defense intermediary with marketing expertise. For manufacturing and packaging of MCN-40, he partnered with All American Pharmaceutical for manufacturing and packaging MCN-40.
“All the elements of the T3 process (technology transfer to the private sector and transition to the warfighter) are evident in this project,” said John Schutte technology transfer specialist with 711HPW. “It’s a perfect example of T3 in action—a total team effort! And all from a simple conversation between an operator and a researcher.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated from a previous version.