Start-up biotech company CodiKoat, that is developing an anti-viral coating for multiple surfaces designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, caught the attention of Health Secretary Matt Hancock when he undertook a virtual tour of the new EpiCentre innovation facility in Haverhill, Suffolk last week.
Hancock, the MP for the West Suffolk constituency, was undertaking a tour via video-link, to see the new vaccination clinic set up by the Suffolk GP Federation at The EpiCentre last Friday.
The Health Secretary who confirmed that touch is a core vector in the transmission of coronavirus, commented: “That’s amazing, I could see the benefit of this immediately including within the NHS,” and he asked for more details to be sent to him.
Matin Mohseni a founding director of CodiKoat, said: “We have something that is quite timely and will help prevent the spread of the virus. We are ready to work with public and private sector organisations to do pilot tests that could accelerate getting this technology into the market.”
The unique coating technology kills viruses and bacteria on surfaces in seconds, be they hard or soft, smooth, curved or flat using an anti-viral adhesive film and lasts the lifetime of the surface it is applied on.
Reza Saberi, co-founding director of CodiKoat, added: “Our technology relies on a coating technique which can provide a strong chemical bond to any type of surface (plastics, glasses, fabrics and metals) around us and this type of coating can stay functional until the original product is out of use.” Saberi has extensive experience of coating materials using this technique in his PhD and post-graduate research at the University of Cambridge.
This new patented technology can also be easily integrated into the manufacturing process of door handles, doctors’ gowns, facemasks, bank notes, lift buttons, keyboards and virtually any product and surface commonly exposed to viruses and bacteria.
“This is a technology that can save lives,” says Mohseni. “It can be used both quickly and cheaply within the healthcare, hospitality industry and public transport, dramatically helping to stop the transfer of viruses and bacteria both during the Covid-19 pandemic but also thereafter.”
To develop these products, CodiKoat was awarded £325k grant funds from Innovate U.K. and is collaborating with BDK and Hardshell who are leading manufacturers of adhesive materials and facemasks in the UK. The company’s biotechnology research is developing fast and consequently it is now taking on a further two laboratory technicians at The EpiCentre.
The EpiCentre is managed by Oxford Innovation that runs innovation centres throughout the UK. Its laboratory facilities at Haverhill are suitable for the testing of products such as those being developed by CodiKoat. The shared labs come fully kitted out with specialist equipment, perfect for tissue culturing, microbiology research and more. And with a write-up area and waste management, laboratory occupiers have everything they need.
Gareth Scargill, Commercial Director at Oxford Innovation, said “We very much appreciate the time the Health Secretary was able to spare in virtually visiting the centre, especially at a time when he is in the forefront of the Government’s fight to halt the pandemic. It was great that he could meet the CodiKoat team to hear about their ground-breaking and relevant research.
“This is the great strength of Oxford Innovation. We are more than just an innovation centre as our team works hard to support businesses in all sorts of capacity. So when Matt Hancock joined us virtually last week we found a window of time for the team of scientists at CodiKoat to meet him.
“As part of our offering our Innovation Director, Babita Devi, based on site is here to sign-post businesses in the right direction; be it for business growth, commercialising a company’s products and services, fund-raising or in this case thinking outside the box and offering a really important introduction,” adds Scargill.