Nanotech UV maker buys up US rival company

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Titanium dioxide Ultraviolet

Oxonica, a UK-based nanotechnology group that has come to the fore
with a UV sunscreen ingredient, has completed the acquisition of US
company Nanoplex Technologies, in a deal that will help it expand
its sun care capabilities.

Following the acquisition, which values the company at $4m (€3.4m) Nanoplex will change its name to Oxonica Inc and will become part of Oxonica's healthcare business, which specialises in sun protection and other other areas. The companies originally made the announcement back in December and completion has just taken place.

Oxonica says that it expects the acquisition will enhance the development of its existingbiomarker detection and security technology, which will be achieved through the addition of complementary IP and development skills supported by funded programmes and establishedstrategic relationships.

The move follows the successful 2005 launch of Oxonica's commercial applicationsUV absorber Optisol, which the company says it aims to commercialise further in the future, plans that will be further developed using Nanoplex's technology.

Oxonica's big break in the sunscreen segment came at the end of last year when leading ingredients supplier Croda announced that it had tapped into Oxonica's nanotechnology capabilities with an agreement to distribute the Optisol UV absorber to the international personal care market.

Croda, says it will provide its sales, distribution and technical capabilities as a means of increasing the distribution of the ingredient amongst leading international sun care and skin care manufacturers.

Initially Croda will be concentrating on the US, European and Australian markets, which are currently the biggest for sun and skin care products.

The Nanoplex acquisition provides Oxonica with a presence in the key US market, which is of importance to Oxonica's healthcare business

Headquartered in California, USA, Nanoplex has 17 employees with blue chip clients inboth the healthcare and homeland security diagnostics markets. Healthcare applications includethe identification of disease markers while the homeland security applications include the detectionof chemical and biological agents.

In the nine months to 30 September 2005, Nanoplex reportedunaudited turnover of $1.6 m, which included $1.2 million in grants, and a loss onordinary activities before taxation of US$0.9 million.

Optisol UV Absorber, which relies on nano-sized titanium dioxide particles to up UV protection, was in the development stages for five years before its commercial launch following a supply agreement with metals manufacture Umicore.

"Although titanium oxide has been used for years in sun screen products, the nano technology we have employed to develop this ingredient helps to keep free radicals at bay and to maintain the effectiveness of the protection,"​ Gareth Wakefield, vice president of research for Oxonica.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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