- It is important that medical instruments and aids are bacteria-free
- UT spin-off LipoCoat is developing a revolutionary coating technology that protects material surfaces against microorganisms and protein deposits
- LipoCoat already contributes to the development of contact lenses that do not cause any irritation
Biotech company LipoCoat from Twente started as a spin-off from the University of Twente, after six years of research into biocompatible coatings by founder and CEO Jasper van Weerd. In the last three years, LipoCoat has received more than 15 different awards and prizes.
The big challenge that the spin-off tackles is that one in five patients in hospitals gets an infection, half of them due to contaminated medical instruments. As a solution, LipoCoat developed a bacterial-repellent coating for the medical industry. This coating is only 5 nanometers (5 millionth millimetres) thick, with which medical aids such as catheters and prostheses, but also contact lenses, can be protected against contamination. The coating also has a moisturizing effect, ensuring less surface friction which makes catheters, for example, more pleasant to use. Also, innovative applications in the industry, water, food and pharma of technology are being examined.
The coating was initially developed further for improving contact lenses. Various producers have already shown interest. The lens can be a solution for people that experience irritation in their eyes as a result of contamination of the lenses. A large group of lens users experience contact lens discomfort. In the Netherlands alone, more than two million people wear contact lenses. More than half of them experience discomfort, partly due to contamination of the lenses with protein and bacteria. The latter can result in serious eye infections. Lens discomfort and eye irritation is an important reason why as many as 20 per cent of users decide to no longer wear contact lenses.
“We expect the first contact lenses with the LipoCoat coating will be launched in the third quarter of 2020. Other target applications such as coated catheters are expected to be available in the course of 2022, depending on how fast the company can go through the regulations.” Raoul Oostenbrink, co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer of LipoCoat.
Since its creation, the company has achieved several crucial milestones in product development, organization growth and customer development – partly thanks to LipoCoat’s financing strategy. Jasper van Weerd, founder and CEO of LipoCoat: “We have many talented people on our team. This year, we are building a new research and production facility, and we are well on our way to close the next round of investment.”
LipoCoat is receiving increasing interest from companies in medical technology, who recognize the value of the LipoCoat platform technology’s unique nature. LipoCoat also provides employment in Twente. Last year, the team grew from five to eleven, is currently at 15 and will soon reach 20. “Diversity is very important within LipoCoat, so we have a gender diverse and intergenerational team.” In the summer, the company was placed on top of the “15 most promising biotech startups in Europe 2019” by StartupCity Magazine.