University Bridge Fund

€1.5m investment in Irish company behind breakthrough formula to control superbugs

·    Atlantic Bridge University Fund leads €1.5m investment
·    Kastus commercialising life-saving products that kill harmful antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Irish technology firm Kastus made world headlines earlier this year with the news that it had unlocked a scientific discovery, which will be key to controlling antibiotic-resistant killer superbugs.

Today (December 1) the company announces a €1.5m investment led by the Atlantic Bridge University Fund, which invests in companies built from world-class research.  

This funding, from a major international investment firm, ensures Kastus will continue to be well-capitalised as it scales internationally and will be used to grow the company’s customer base.

Superbugs are predicted to kill 10 million people worldwide every year by 2050. In a leading report by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies, it was warned that the danger of antibiotic and anti-microbial resistance “should be ranked alongside climate change on a list of threats to the nation”.

Addressing this problem, Kastus’ effective and practical antimicrobial solution is a unique agent that kills micro-organisms or inhibits their growth.

The novel and patented technology can be used to protect a range of everyday surfaces against deadly bacteria, including MRSA and E.coli on smartphones, computer screens, mobile devices and other paint, plastic, ceramic and glass surfaces.

Founder and CEO of the company John Browne has commercialised and funded research led scientists at Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT) Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology developed over the past ten years. 

He is now leading the company to bring a range of patented products to global markets. Kastus is also supported by Enterprise Ireland, Singapore based investor syndicate, Carragh Holdings and by with strategic business planning from Dick Blake at Pembroke Consultants.

John Browne, Kastus CEO said: “The uniqueness of antimicrobial surface treatment means that real world applications are endless with global commercial appeal. We have already achieved excellent results in trials with several international customers who have been searching for such a solution for years. The plan is supply customers in the electronics and healthcare sectors in 2017.

“This investment from Atlantic Bridge’s University Fund is strong validation that Kastus’ scientific research has great potential to be commercialised into international markets. To have the backing of Atlantic Bridge is an incredible endorsement for the future.”

“Atlantic Bridge brings significant expertise of scaling global companies from Europe in the US and in China, which are key markets for Kastus as we target client companies in the consumer electronics and other markets. The global Atlantic Bridge platform is the perfect fit to help Kastus scale rapidly and position us a market leader in our sector.”

Chris Horn at Atlantic Bridge said:  “Atlantic Bridge is delighted to welcome Kastus to our growing portfolio of early-stage companies in the University Fund.  The company strongly represents the commercial strength of world-class academic research undertaken in Ireland, and illustrates how the University Fund can accelerate the global growth of such opportunities.”

Kastus has also this week moved into new offices, complete with a state-of-the-art laboratory and research facilities at the Greenway Hub on DIT’s Grangegorman campus. With the support of Atlantic Bridge and Enterprise Ireland, the company will also establish a permanent presence in the US and UK markets.

Orla Battersby, Manager of High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland, said that a key focus for Enterprise Ireland was helping companies to start-up, innovate and scale in international markets.

“We have worked closely with Kastus from the very beginning and it is extremely encouraging to see the great strides they are making. Kastus is a great example of a highly innovative Irish company with the drive and ambition to succeed globally. Enterprise Ireland’s teams in Ireland and overseas will continue to work closely with Kastus, supporting them to scale their business in international markets,” said Ms Battersby.