Irish firm in nanotech deal

13 May 2005

Irish AIM-listed healthcare technology firm Alltracel has signed a nanotechnology product development agreement with Czech nanofibre technology specialist Elmarco to develop the next generation of Alltracel’s patented m-doc technology.

In January, reported how Dublin-based biotech pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) player Alltracel bought the entire share capital of a London-based product development firm for €8m in a cash and stock offer. The acquisition of Westone Products is predicted by analysts to enable Alltracel to achieve top-line revenues of €21m for 2005.

Nanotechnology, or as it is sometimes called, molecular manufacturing, is a branch of engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter. The Institute of Nanotechnology in the UK expresses it as “science and technology where dimensions and tolerances in the range of 0.1 nanometer (nm) to 100nm play a critical role”. Because there is a physical limit to the number of components that can be fabricated onto a single semiconductor, it is believed that nanotechnology holds promise in the quest for ever-more-powerful computers, communications devices and medical technologies.

Elmarco is a specialist R&D and manufacturing company specialising in advanced manufacturing for the semi-conductor components industry as well as equipment for industrial production of nanofibrous non-woven materials.

Together with the Textiles Faculty of the Technical University of Liberic in the Czech Republic, Elmarco has developed a novel, proprietary and patented process for spinning polymers into nano-scale fibres for a range of industrial, chemical, micro-electronic and bio-medical applications.

Over the past few months Alltracel’s m-doc-based nanofibre woundcare prototypes have been developed and are now at an advanced stage of technical evaluation.

Alltracel’s CEO Tony Richardson explains: “Alltracel has always been committed to innovation in our markets and we are particularly excited by the prospects for m-doc-based nanofibrous advanced woundcare delivery systems.

“Although at an early stage of development nanofibre technology is showing market transforming potential in a number of our markets and we are delighted to have formalised our partnership with Elmarco and the nanofibre technology team at the Technical University of Liberic.

“We are now focused on jointly reviewing a range of patent-protected potential applications for m-doc-based nanofibre solutions, initially for the advanced woundcare and surgical markets and bringing these innovations to market via our network of existing and new commercial partners,” Richardson said.

By John Kennedy