Aqdot’s £6m Series B funding boosts spray product options
The investment accelerates commercialisation of AqBit, the company’s proprietary platform chemistry, which is unique in its ability to capture, hold and release materials as needed.
“It’s good news and the goal is now to focus on product launches, strengthening Aqdot Solutions and taking the company to IPO in the next three or four years,” co-founder and marketing manager Dr Jing Zhang told the Cambridge Independent.
Dr Zhang has been part of Aqdot’s journey since it span out of the University of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry in 2012. Its first seed funding round was in 2013, with a £5million Series A funding round completed in 2016.
Initially focusing on the high value sectors of air quality, personal care (including cosmetics) and life sciences, the Aqdot Solutions part of the business works in partnership with companies to develop, license and supply novel products. This has the team working in areas from air filtering in transportation to delivery of therapeutics for cancer. The first of a pipeline of products is Acticote, an agrochemical pod sealant recently launched with partner Intracrop.
In parallel, the Aqdot Products part of the company has recently launched its own brands, AqStar M1 and Oderase.
Sold through a distributor network, AqStar M1 is a naturally-derived emulsifier that provides formulation flexibility and distinctive aesthetics, enabling high-performing cosmetics to be formulated using naturally-derived ingredients.
Oderase is the first and only fragrance-free odour erasing bathroom spray in the UK market. It has been approved by Allergy UK and Good Housekeeping and achieved Cradle to Cradle certified silver-level accreditation.
“Oderase is exclusively available from Ocado,” Dr Zhang says, “though we are looking at other channels. It is priced at £4.99 for 100ml bottles – more than 500 spritzes per bottle. So it would last a couple of months depending on how smelly the room is.”
The product uses no propellant or artificial fragrance so “it doesn’t contribute to indoor air pollution”.
“The overwhelming response from people is that they don’t like the strong fragrance associated with traditional products, which makes the smell worse,” says Dr Zhang. “It’s one example of the applications using our core supramolecular chemistry.”
The technology captures, holds or releases other materials – within air quality that means trapping “odorous molecules or VOCs – volatile organic compounds”.
“With Oderase it simply captures the odours and erases them from the air,” Dr Zhang explains.
There are three focus areas for the company.
“Oderase in the air quality area, AqStar M1 is in the area of personal care and cosmetics, and Acticote is an example for life sciences – which includes agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, to do with gene delivery, so for instance delivering DNA or RNA for cancer treatments.”
Tim Wright, CEO of Aqdot, said: “We are grateful to our shareholders for all of their support as we launch new products and excited to accelerate the build of our own commercial team while in parallel actively seeking new commercial partners.”