New technology created by Sligo firm Nektr tackles antibiotic resistance and overuse in humans and animals.

Sligo biotech business Nektr Technologies has raised €1m in funding to develop its ground-breaking new technology, including €500,000 from the Western Development Commission.

The company is developing an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral synthetic compound with far-reaching applications in the areas of human and animal health.

“It emphasises Sligo’s growing reputation as a hub for technological innovation and entrepreneurship creating sustainable growth in the Northwest”

A3IS, Nektr’s technology, is a highly potent synthetic antimicrobial compound, which has demonstrated efficacy against a large number of multi-drug resistant pathogens (including many on the World Health Organisation list of critical pathogens) with no resistance – meaning it provides a potential answer to the global challenge of antibiotic resistance and overuse.

Solving a global health problem

Because of the widespread use of antibiotics, the infectious bacteria they were designed to counter have adapted to them, making antibiotics increasingly less effective as a treatment than they once were.

In terms of human healthcare, Nektr is currently employing the technology in the areas of onychomycosis (a fungal infection of the nails), anti-microbial resistance (AMR), dermatological challenges, nasal decontamination and medical device coatings. It is also exploring other potential areas of application in human and animal healthcare as well as potential improvements to the human food chain and to the environment.

“Nektr is currently concluding a Phase 3 Pharmaceutical Clinical Trial on the efficacy of A3IS as a novel and cost-effective treatment for onychomychosis (Fungal Nail Disease),” said Frank Boyle, CEO of Nektr Technologies.

“During the course of the trial, we came across a lot of other opportunities for deploying the technology. The significant investment by the WDC in the current fundraising of €1m will allow Nektr to capitalise on the commercial opportunities that it currently has, further develop the other potential applications we have identified and add additional resources to the business to assist its growth.”

The WDC investment is part of a €1 million fundraising round to support further product development and commercialisation.

“The WDC Investment Fund has helped support the position of the West of Ireland as a start-up hub for indigenous medtech and life science companies, building on the region’s reputation as a global centre of excellence,” said Gillian Buckley, investment manager with the Western Development Commission.

“Nektr Technologies is our 36th life science investment, making the WDC Investment Fund one of the largest medtech/life science investors in the country. The WDC is an impact investor so we seek not only a financial return on investment but also a socio-economic impact.  Nektr Technologies offers both, it will support high quality jobs in Sligo as well as addressing significant healthcare issues.

This funding round follows on from previous funding raised from private sources and Enterprise Ireland. Nektr’s CEO, Frank Boyle, previously founded medical device company ProTek Medical, which he sold to Koch Industries in 2016.

“The development of Nektr’s A3IS synthetic compound has the potential to address critical global issues in the areas of human and animal health and the environment,” said Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission.

“It also emphasises Sligo’s growing reputation as a hub for technological innovation and entrepreneurship creating sustainable growth in the Northwest.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 6 May 2021