Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) has advanced a £2 million loan to Creo Medical to develop its Cool Plasma technology which could provide a valuable weapon in the fight against Covid-19.
Chepstow-based medical company, Creo Medical has developed its Cool Plasma technology, which has been shown to be highly effective in killing bacteria, with a 99.99% kill rate on tough bacteria such as MRSA, E. coli and C. difficile.
Initial testing has shown it to be effective in inactivating the Covid-19 virus. The company believes it could be very useful in decontaminating and sterilising medical equipment, such as PPE and ventilators, and cleaning and sterilising hospital wards, ambulances and other enclosed spaces, as well as for sterilising wounds.
The £2 million loan, repayable over five years, is part of CCR’s response to the global emergency caused by the coronavirus.
It fits in with CCR’s strategy of investing in innovative companies in the medical devices and diagnostics sector, identified as one of the priority sectors for the region.
The guaranteed loan has been made on commercial terms, in keeping with CCR’s policy of using its available investment resources as an evergreen fund.
Peter Fox, Leader of Monmouthshire County Council and Vice Chair of Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet, said:
“Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet is delighted to support Creo Medical in developing their Cool Plasma technology. This tremendous innovation in sterilisation couldn’t have come forward at a better time and this new technology will be a game changer in killing bacteria and viruses and has already proved that it can be effective against COVID-19.
“The MedTech industry is a key area of development and opportunity for the Cardiff Capital Region. It is fantastic we have Creo in our midst – a leading light in medical science. Providing this loan ensures this crucial technology can be developed at speed.
“Our region is an exciting place to be and our City Deal stands ready to unlock further opportunity. We are so pleased to be working with forward thinking companies such as Creo medical and we look forward to working with them.”
Frank Holmes, Chairman of the CCR Economic Growth Partnership, said:
“The CCR REGP has received numerous investment proposals for the Medtech and other priority sectors as identified in its Economic Plan. This has served as a catalyst for investigating the establishment of a Growth Cluster Fund to enable innovation-led growth within these ecosystems and industries of the future.
“This investment in Creo Medical is an example of the CCR Investment Panel turbo charging its assessment of projects requiring timely decisions and negotiating commercial terms which underpin the ‘evergreen’ objectives of CCR’s Investment and Intervention Framework.”
Besides its short-term use against Covid-19, Creo Medical’s Cool Plasma technology has long-term applications in anti-bacterial and anti-virus disinfection.
Prof Chris Hancock, Chief Technology Officer of Creo Medical, said:
“Creo’s very early projects focused on cold plasma for hand sanitisation and so I’m delighted that we are able to advance this technology which has a variety of applications.
“The current pandemic has highlighted the need to focus on technology that can limit the spread of coronavirus and I am excited that we have support from the Cardiff Capital Region to commercialise our patented technology as part of our Covid-19 response.
“The backing of the Cardiff Capital Region provides us with the opportunity to further leverage the infrastructure in Wales and the network of support being provided for innovative businesses like Creo.”
CCR’s investment strategy is built around identifying industrial sectors where the region has or can develop a competitive advantage, including medical devices and diagnostics, compound semiconductors, fintech, cybersecurity, data and AI, and creative.
Its £458 million investment fund is directed towards developing clusters and ecosystems around these priority sectors. Investments are made as repayable loans in order to create an evergreen fund for further investments in the future.
Medical devices and diagnostics has been identified as a priority sector because of the strength the region already has in innovative companies such as Creo Medical, supported by the research strength in its universities.
Other recent CCR Regional Cabinet backed investments in this priority sector include a £120,000 investment to progress a proposal to develop a Life Sciences Innovation Park at Coryton in north Cardiff, and £40,000 to progress a potential £4m investment for a CCR Healthcare Data company to finalise the development, and subsequent commercialisation, of a new analytical software product that has the potential to cut the time to analyse data from months to days, particularly pertinent when considered in the current Covid-19 environment.