NanoTouch Materials awarded grant to accelerate development of self-cleaning surfaces

Tobacco Commission's award of a US$2m research and development grant will directly support the continued development of NanoSeptic surfaces

The US Tobacco Commission has awarded the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research (CAER) a US$2m research and development grant, all of which will directly support NanoTouch Materials' continued development of its NanoSeptic surfaces. The funding will be used to research new materials and advanced manufacturing processes, and build a dedicated fabrication facility in Bedford County, Virginia.

The research component of the grant will focus on the development of the fifth generation of the NanoSeptic surface. Initial lab testing on early prototypes of the technology resulted in a surface that was 1,000 times more effective than the previous generation, achieving almost a six-log reduction.

Effectiveness of the current NanoSeptic surface has been extensively studied both by an independent FDA compliant lab and university research centres worldwide, including Saudi Arabia and South Korea. These studies utilise internationally recognised standard testing protocols against a variety of pathogens including E. coli, MRSA, Staph, Norovirus and the human Coronavirus, a strain of which is causing MERS outbreaks in the Middle East and Korea.

'What makes research and development of NanoSeptic products complex and expensive is the multiple areas of scientific expertise required,' says NanoTouch co-founder Mark Sisson. 'This funding will allow us to continue working with some of the best scientific minds in material science, nanotechnology, polymers and biotechnology.'

As part of this three-year initiative, NanoTouch Materials is expected to increase its workforce in Bedford County, VA to a total of 14 employees, and an estimated 37 employees in five years. NanoTouch is also expected to invest $1m in facilities and advanced manufacturing equipment.

'NanoSeptic products present a great growth opportunity for this region,' said Bob Bailey, executive director of CAER. 'The Center for Advanced Engineering and Research is excited to be part of this project and we believe that our strong research partnerships with multiple Virginia universities will prove to be a significant asset.'

While an entire line of NanoSeptic products has been developed and is being distributed to 29 countries, the company also plans to spend significant funding to conduct market research in the healthcare, education, facility management, commercial janitorial and food service industries. This market research will guide future product development and uncover specific ways that self-cleaning surfaces can be used to improve healthcare outcomes, reduce employee and student absenteeism, and broadly improve community health.

The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body whose mission is to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. The Commission has awarded 1,831 grants totalling almost $1.1bn across the tobacco region of the Commonwealth.

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