WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, an all-inclusive nutritional supplement was developed by Air Force Research Laboratory Research Physiologist Dr. Reginald O’Hara and MusclePharm Inc., and is planned for launch in the marketplace this month.
The initial request for an improved nutritional supplement came from a combat controller, who explained to O’Hara that mixing several different packets adds hassle to his already demanding job as a special operator and removes his focus from the battlefield.
O’Hara said that after that discussion, his goal back at his lab was to create a nutritious product with quality protein that would ensure sustained energy, eliminating bacterial contamination and reduce the weight carried by Airmen in the field.
MCN-40, or Mission Critical Nutrition, is a single-serve, pre-packaged powder supplement, specially formulated to enhance a person’s energy, performance, and cognition during sustained operations. One serving provides 40 grams of hydrolyzed quality protein, 430 calories, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.
The process of commercializing new Air Force technology, however, involves more than just the Air Force. 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 a technology. Further, a patent license agreement allows a company to market, manufacture and sell an Air Force invention.
“The full cycle of MCN-40 is a great example of getting input directly from the warfighter, bringing it back to the lab, engaging with private industry, creating a solution, and getting the final product onto the market and available to both the warfighter and the private sector,” said John Schutte, a technology transfer specialist with 711th Human Performance Wing Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA).
Darryl Nowak, Newcomer Arms’ chairman and CEO, said several factors led him to select this supplement, including its stage of development and the legitimacy of other products developed by the U.S. Air Force. He said he was thrilled the product was “essentially ready to go with the formula in hand and the initial testing done.”
“We went after this product because there’s nothing like it in the market,” Nowak explained. “No one had ever heard of an all-inclusive drink to sustain troops.”
Newcomer Arms partnered with All American Pharmaceutical in Billings, Montana, for manufacturing and packaging MCN-40. While the initial production volume will be 50,000 packets, Nowak said he plans to increase the volume to 100,000 on the next run. As of January 31, 2019, private-sector customers have pre-ordered 16,000 units.
Nowak plans to offer the supplement to retail stores like GNC in the future. Potential customers outside of the military include hikers, extreme athletes, professional athletes, health and fitness enthusiasts, pilots, wildfire firefighters, racecar drivers, and endurance athletes.
Newcomer Arms worked with the 711 Human Performance Wing’s ORTA and TechLink, a Department of Defense partnership intermediary in Montana, to license the formula. The 711HPW ORTA engaged with TechLink after Air Force attorneys filed the patent application.
“TechLink has the marketing expertise and the capabilities to take a product and seek out potential licensing partners,” Schutte said. “All the elements of the T3 process (technology transfer to the private sector and transition to the warfighter) are evident in this project. It’s a perfect example of T3 in action—a total team effort. And look what this could do for the warfighter—all from a simple conversation between an operator and a researcher.”
This story was originally published by the Air Force Research Laboratory Corporate Communications.