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Pertinax Pharma: medical innovations to help fight infections

Pertinax Pharma: medical innovations to help fight infections

Pertinax Pharma has developed a suite of controlled release antimicrobial materials composed of chlorhexidine polyphosphates. The materials act to release a common antiseptic, chlorhexidine, over an extended period and with a chosen dose. Chlorhexidine is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial which can kill a wide range of bacteria, fungi and yeasts which cause infections. Pertinax’s patented material is a platform technology with many uses in medical devices and topical agents; the company is currently focussing on wound dressings and sutures, in which the material’s release properties are particularly effective at keeping infection at bay over a clinically relevant period of time. It can also help to address some of the challenges of antimicrobial resistance, as it can be used in place of antibiotics and/or to circumvent the need for antibiotics in some instances.

Pertinax Pharma: medical innovations to help fight infections


Start date: 2015

Website: Visit website

Location: Bristol

Employees: 4

SETsquared programme: Innovation to Commercial Realisation (ICURe)

SETsquared support received: ICURe grant, events, market research, networking

Investment raised: Investment £1.85m Grant funding £524k


March 2015

Took part in ICURe Programme

April 2015

Company created

July 2015

£25k Materials Science Venture Prize

February 2016

£489k Innovate UK Aid for Start-Up grant

February 2016

1st investment of £400k achieved

Feb 2017

Won Medilink South West Start-Up award

August 2017

Commercial launch

November 2017

Finalist at BioNow awards and North East Bright Ideas Health Awards

July 2018

Patents assigned to Pertinax Pharma

August 2018

Patent granted in China

October 2018

£860k funding round

January 2019

£35k Innovation 4 Growth (I4G) funding

“Pertinax technology was invented in my research group at the University of Bristol. The ICURe Programme was fantastic as it gave us protected time to go out and speak to potential customers and find out exactly what they wanted rather than developing our technology in isolation. It also made us re-assess who our customer actually was. We initially focussed on clinicians, who give extremely useful feedback on what they’d like to see in a product, but our actual customers are those partner companies who develop and manufacture medical devices such as advanced wound dressings and sutures, rather than the end users themselves.”

“At the ICURe Options Roundabout, it was recommended that we apply for an Innovate UK Aid for Start-Ups grant, which we were successful in securing. This was pivotal as it enabled us to leverage Venture Capital (VC) funding – VCs have more confidence in a technology that has received public funding and it also offers them good value. The grant funding and early investments then enabled us to secure premises, employ staff and equip our lab.”

“We’ve now successfully identified how to scale our manufacturing processes and are in the process of selecting our Contract Manufacturing Organisation (CMO) who will manufacture our material to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). We are also making progress on the body of data needed for regulatory approval of our material, and of course the fact that the active component, chlorhexidine, has been in use for many decades means our regulatory pathway is more straightforward than if this were a completely new molecule.”

Dr Michele Barbour

Dr Michele Barbour, CEO
Pertinax Pharma

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  • University of Bristol
  • University of Southampton logo

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