Monday, May 26, 2008

Israel's Sure discovers anti-bacterial wonder material

Bacteria have dual personalities: on one hand they are good and help us digest food, promote the growth of plants and help produce beer and yoghurt. But bacteria also have "bad" sides as well - they cause infections and death, promote rotting in our food and teeth, and contaminate drinking water. A new discovery, a phenomenon in the scientific world, may change the way we protect ourselves from bacterial contamination of the bad variety. This might mean eradicating needless deaths in the hospital and a dramatic change in the quality of life in the developing world.

Sure International, an Israeli company based in Rehovot, has chanced upon a new discovery in the laboratory. Headed by veteran scientists, two years ago Sure scientists understood the phenomenon they stumbled upon could be applied in the growing market of anti-microbial materials.

This new material, which the company is very secretive about, can be coated on a wide range of surfaces such as plastics, on medical equipment, in the lining of water pipes or in food packaging to inhibit and "freeze" the growth of bacteria and other microbes.

If coated on catheters used in hospitals, Sure may be able to prevent the deaths of 90,000 Americans who contract bacterial infections each year. The company may eradicate the need for refrigerators in hot countries - the coating (yet without a name) can be sprayed onto a milk carton to prevent the growth of bacteria.

It could be used in the armpit region of cotton clothing, preventing body odor from clinging to fabrics. Imagine what miracles it could perform in the sports shoes or football equipment of teenage boys?

"We can inhibit the growth of bacteria with a method unknown in the materials world," Uriel Halavee, the co-founder of the company tells ISRAEL21c. "The material is based on the fact that there is an internal equilibrium in every living cell."

Halavee guarantees that this material, now under negotiation for license with a number of Fortune 500 companies in the US and other multi-nationals, does not release toxic byproducts in the process. "There is no evidence that anything happened there. We are disturbing equilibrium by contact," he adds.

With a material now ready for licensing, Halavee assures ISRAEL21c there is no wizardry or sleight of hand involved. With a background in physics and chemical physics and as a former professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Halavee says that Sure is a growing company with 15 employees, including the company's other co-founder Shmuel Bukshpan, a physicist.

The material they discovered has one product ready today for license. "There are huge opportunities with this product," says Halavee. "We can help poor people extend the shelf life [of food] without cooling - up to weeks."

There are applications in the cosmetics industry, food industry, cleantech and medical industries as well.

A vote of confidence and a $5 million investment recently from Wanaka Capital Partners, which invests in mid-tech companies and C. Mer Industries Ltd., whose core business is telecommunications, could mean Sure's wonder material could be on the market by the end of this year.

Its founder has an excellent track record for inventing products and taking them to market. Start-ups that Halavee has established and then sold include Opal a semiconductor company acquired by Applied Materials; the cardiovascular balloon of X-Technologies acquired by Guidant, and Kailight Photonics an optical communications company acquired by Optimum.

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