Professor Creates Inhalable Energy Supplement

A company founded by a Harvard professor and a College graduate will launch its inhalable energy supplement product, AeroShot Energy, next month.

The product, which works in similar fashion to an inhaler, gives its user a boost of caffeine. While AeroShot Energy initially went on sale only at 300 stores in the Boston and New York areas, within the next month AeroDesigns, which sells and markets the energy supplement, will expand its distribution nationwide to 20,000 major convenience stores. This growth follows the recent approval the company received from the Food and Drug Administration, which had in March questioned the wording in the product description.

AeroDesigns Director of Operations Jon T. Staff ’10 said that AeroShot Energy inventor David A. Edwards, a professor of biomedical engineering, began his exploration to answer one question: “What would it be like to breathe food?”

Edwards set out on his experimentation with “no commercial intention,” Staff said. Edwards’s invention, Staff added, proved to be an “exciting” fusion of art and science, presenting “a new way of introducing products into the world.”

The energy supplement was received “really well,” Edwards said in a phone interview from Switzerland, where he was meeting with investors. “It’s been amazing.”

“Sales have been really, really strong,” Staff said. “The number of units sold per week has exceeded our expectations” prompting AeroDesigns to expand from regional to national markets. AeroDesigns hopes to expand to Europe in the next year, Staff said.

After the FDA raised concerns over the wording of the product’s label, AeroDesigns “described the product a little differently” on the package, Staff said. “Whenever there is something this innovative, there is going to be some conversation. The laws were not written with a product like this in mind.”

Edwards, who called the FDA’s June decision a “favorable opinion,” said that thousands of consumers regularly use the product a few times a week. Heavy users of AeroShot are most often between 18 and 30 years old, with the stimulant particularly attracting athletes and college students, Staff said. These users, he added, are made up of both men and women, “bucking the trend of energy products.” Men generally make up a greater percentage of energy product consumption.

In July, AeroShot Energy was named the Best New Product by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing, a trade show of leading buyers for the big, national chains for large retailers.

The AeroShot model is not limited to energy supplements, according to Staff. “The ambition and the opportunity of this company is in delivering all sorts of foods and nutrients” through inhalable supplements,” he said.

For now, though, Staff said he uses AeroShot everyday. “Apple is my favorite flavor.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: Oct. 10

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that AeroShot Energy is currently on sale in just 300 stores. In fact, while it initially went on sale in 300 stores, it is currently available in 5,000 stores. In addition, the article misstated a quote from AeroDesigns Director of Operations Jon T. Staff ’10.

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