Hybrisan, a Welsh antimicrobial specialist which is helping with the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, has secured a £500,000 equity investment.
The Port Talbot-based business has received the investment from the Development Bank of Wales, private investors and a Smart Cymru grant from the Welsh Government.
Hybrisan manufactures liquid sanitiser and uses advanced nanotechnology to produce advanced material, impregnated with the liquid sanitiser for use in high quality personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS and other frontline workers.
Established in 2014 by chief executive Dr Lee Bridgeman and his team to conduct research in the life sciences sector, Hybrisan has temporarily moved all its production to combat Covid-19.
Having recently developed an electrospinning recipe which allows the sanitiser liquid to be spun by a cutting edge machine into ultrafine fibres (nanofibres), Hybrisan is now working closely with Welsh Government and other PPE manufacturers to scale up production of electrospun filters for use in facemasks.
In addition the business has used the venture capital to purchase a new 'electrospinning' machine which will enable them to scale up manufacturing of facemask filters.
Dr Lee Bridgeman said: "It has been well documented that nanofibrous material – like those developed by Hybrisian – protect against harmful bacteria.
"We have studied these properties in depth and have now developed products that are proving to be extremely effective against both harmful bacteria and viruses.
"Our expertise in this field has prepared us for the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and we are pleased to have been able to develop products which will help.”
Technical director Dr Chris Mortimer is taking the lead on scaling up production of their products for use in PPE.
He said: "With the support we have received we have been able to order our first electrospinning machine.
"This completely transforms the plans of the business and allows us to develop nanofibres fit for face mask filtration (up to FFP3 level).
"Following this we will return to our original business plans where we can revolutionise the wound care market with our novel antimicrobial dressing for chronic wounds."
Economy minister Ken Skates said: "We asked industry in Wales to play their part in helping us respond to the many challenges presented by coronavirus and to provide critical supplies to our healthcare heroes on the frontline.
"I am delighted that with help from our SMART Cymru scheme and investment from the Development Bank of Wales, Hybrisan has adapted its business strategy and working procedures to do just that."
Sarah Smith, technology investment executive with the Development Bank of Wales, said: "Technology businesses everywhere have stepped up to the challenge of fighting the current coronavirus pandemic.
"Hybrisan's advanced technology is innovative not only for its ability to be effective against Coronavirus but also other exciting applications."
Leanne Thomas of Greenaway Scott (part of the GS Verde Group) advised Hybrisan and Catherine Golledge of Capital Law acted for the Development Bank of Wales. Cardiff-based access to finance company Severn Seed Finance (SSF) also advised Hybrisan on the raise.
Leanne Thomas said: "Hybrisan are a great example of an innovative welsh manufacturer, who are agile enough to pivot and respond to needs, which in this case couldn't be more essential. We look forward to seeing them get to work in the fight against Covid-19."
The Development Bank was advised by Catherine Golledge from Capital Law. She said: "Welsh manufacturers are playing a key role in the fight against the coronavirus, so it’s crucial that they access the right level of support.
"To scale up the production of their innovative facemask filters, Hybrisan required significant investment. It’s been brilliant to help the Development Bank of Wales answer their call, and we look forward to seeing this business revolutionise the market in response to the current crisis."
David Maas, founder of SSF, said: "We specialise in raising risk investment and Hybrisan’s experienced team of commercially focussed scientists and innovative products were a winning combination."