Pertinax develops novel materials to prevent and treat infection. Its initial target market is antimicrobial wound care, where there are growing concerns about existing technologies over safety (regarding materials like silver), efficiency (in how the antimicrobials are delivered over time) and sustainability (improper dosage of antibiotics accelerates human resistance).

The company completed a funding round via SyndicateRoom in July 2018, details are pending final checks.

The story

Pertinax aims to reduce infection and complications, thus improving patient quality of life. The company’s technology comprises a set of condensed phosphate salts of chlorhexidine, which have much lower solubility than commercially available chlorhexidine salts. The solubility properties result in a slow and steady release of chlorhexidine when the salts are exposed to an aqueous environment (sweat, fluids from wounds, etc). It is released slowly and steadily, at a concentration sufficient to kill pathogenic microbes, and this is sustained for the duration of the use of the dressing. This creates the opportunity to determine the most clinically appropriate dose and duration of chlorhexidine delivery by selection of the particular salt or salts, as well as formulation parameters such as particle size, dispersant and matrix.

By delivering a trusted and familiar antimicrobial, chlorhexidine, in a novel way, Pertinax is able to provide sustained protection which has the potential to support fewer and less frequent dressing changes and faster wound healing.


Operating a B2B model, Pertinax’s natural target customers are companies in the wound care supply chain, from the suppliers of antimicrobials and OEM manufacturers, to the top tier manufacturers who themselves market to doctors and nurses.

The Company has won two awards to date:

  • South West Medilink “Business Start Up” Award 2017 (press release here).
  • Materials Science Venture Prize, awarded by The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, 2015 (see here for more details).

Dr Michele Barbour

Founder and CEO

Michele has a First in physics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Biomaterials from the University of Bristol. She founded Pertinax in 2015 and was the inventor of the technology as the lead of her research group at the University of Bristol, where she is also Reader in Biomaterials and a member of the Dental School executive.

The lead investor

Lead investor, Mercia Fund Managers, is a national investment group focused on the funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions. It chose to invest in Pertinax as it was excited by the technology having the ability to become a platform technology with multiple applications, and considered the management team’s research background to be a definite strength.

What investors have to say

“Looks like an interesting play.”

“This is a significant technical development which should help prevent some hard to treat infections affecting millions of people. The team have made exceptional progress since winning the Venture Prize, and are gaining traction in the market, forging encouraging commercial relationships with a number of market leading companies in wound care and related fields. We are delighted to have helped launch a company which has the capacity to help reduce suffering among patients and reduce antibiotic use while also presenting an exciting commercial opportunity.”

“Multiple prospective commercial partners are showing a great deal of interest and co-development arrangements are expected to be concluded shortly. The management team is very strong and well connected.”

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