When most of us think of chlorine, we imagine the chemical that keeps our pools clean and removes stains from white clothes. AvantGuard sees chlorine as a rechargeable chemical that can be turned into the ultimate surface protectant.
AvantGuard was originally founded as Halomine in 2018 and spun out of Cornell University. It is working with N-halamines, an organic compound most commonly linking nitrogen with chlorine. When put together, it enables antibacterial capabilities — essentially a “microbial death.”
The company licensed N-halamine technology from both Cornell and Auburn University, where it has been working on this for 30 years, according to AvantGuard CEO Edward “Ted” Eveleth, who joined the company in 2019.
What AvantGuard is doing differently than your average chlorine-based disinfectant is that it is making a polymer version. This enables them to do “all sorts of cool and interesting things” with halamines, Eveleth told TechCrunch. Like sticking it on a surface or adding other functionalities so that no proteins will stick to it. This means it can make any surface an antimicrobial surface.
And not just surfaces: There are dozens of uses for this polymer version, from water treatment to an ointment to treat acne, a topical antifungal and medical uses like wound dressing or a coating that will protect medical devices for months at a time. The company predicts there is more than $70 billion in potential market impact.
The company’s initial product is a spray-on antimicrobial coating called 247. It sprays on and when left to dry leaves behind a transparent film. When used in conjunction with a chlorinated disinfectant, it binds the chlorine to the surface that doesn’t wipe off easily. It also can be sprayed on a number of different surfaces, including fabric, which is how AvantGuard will use it on wound dressings.
“When pathogens land on the surface, it will kill the pathogens,” Eveleth said. “We’re the only product that has been able to pass the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) testing for gram negative, gram positive and envelope viruses. We can get a 99.9% reduction within two hours as a residual antimicrobial coating, and we’re the only coating that could do that.”
Currently, the product needs to be put on quarterly, however, Eveleth said that time frame may end up being yearly when AvantGuard gets done with all of its testing. He expects regulatory approval on 247 in early 2024.
The company raised over $8 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and others, and $4 million in equity.
Meanwhile, AvantGuard is working on a strategic partnership with a medical device company and is focused on creating an antifungal product. One of its patents will also be formalized this month. The company has plans to begin raising another round of funding at the end of the year.
“We have a proven biocide that has no history of resistance generation,” Eveleth said. “Our mission is to be your first line of defense against all pathogens on all surfaces, skin included, and reserve oral antibiotics for when we need them most.”