Simon Jackson, Honorary Professor at the University’s Peninsula Medical

A University of Plymouth spinout company has secured considerable investment to speed the development of its novel bacteria-testing technology.

Molendotech, which is based at the University’s Brixham Laboratory, has raised £425,000 from new and existing investors through an equity funding round.

The investment will be used to accelerate and expand the applications of its technology, which has recently attracted strong interest internationally from potential customers concerned about secondary infections as they tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Company was incorporated in 2017 to develop and commercialise the work of Simon Jackson, Honorary Professor at the University’s Peninsula Medical School.

Professor Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of Molendotech, said:

“The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted possible risks to human health from the environment and governments now want to test for bacterial contamination in water and other materials. However, our technology also allows fast detection of bacterial pathogens in fresh food produce, so our technology could significantly decrease the holding time of fresh food before it is released to supermarkets. This will increase the supply of fresh produce to supermarkets, which is especially critical at times of crisis, and support customer faith in the safety of the products.”

The company’s patented technology cuts the time it takes to test for faecal bacteria in water from up to two days to under an hour and can be used in real time and on site, removing the need for samples to be sent to a laboratory.

It has already worked with Palintest, a subsidiary of FTSE 100 group Halma plc, to launch a commercial kit which can complete the tests in as little as 15 minutes.

It has also recently developed a novel method to detect specific pathogenic bacteria, and is collaborating with one of Europe’s leading fresh produce companies – G’s Group, a supplier to Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and other major retailers – on tests to detect the levels of different bacteria in fresh produce, irrigation water, wash water and food contact areas. 

The new funding will ensure Molendotech can step up development of these technologies and take advantage of additional opportunities as they arise.

Professor Jackson added:

“Molendotech continues to use its research capabilities to develop novel solutions to protect human health from environmental risks. This investment will allow us to further develop our technology for use in new markets. In particular, it will help to support and expand our work with large food producers to rapidly assess food safety and enhance food supply to retailers.”

The fundraising was supported by Frontier IP, the University’s commercialisation partner, and values the company at £3.9 million, up from its previous valuation of £2.3 million.

Frontier IP Chief Executive Officer, Neil Crabb, said:

“Molendotech has already made strong progress, with its technology now being commercialised by a subsidiary of major multinational hazard detection group Halma plc. The COVID-19 outbreak and the heightened need for testing of all kinds has increased interest in the company’s technology. This fundraising ensures it is well placed to accelerate development of its technology and to explore opportunities as they arise.”

Brixham Lab