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TekCyte is a South Australian startup success story, now pitching their cutting-edge research to local and international markets.

The business’ area of expertise is creating ultrathin coatings on a range of surfaces, with an understanding of how these surfaces interact with living cells and tissues.

Chief Executive Officer Dr Tony Simula explains the applications of this technology.

“Our focus is primarily on the medical device market, where we believe our coatings can be used to improve the performance of implantable devices, making them safer and more durable,” Dr Simula said.

“Our bodies are equipped with an array of defences that protects us from anything foreign that enters the body, including implants. The intensity of the response by the body may be small, such as inflammation and mild tenderness, but in some cases, the response may be very extreme and lead to life-threatening complications.

“TekCyte’s coatings can manipulate the way living tissue and cells behave when they encounter the surface of implanted biomaterials.

“To reduce the possibility of complications, TekCyte’s coating, BIOINVISIBLE™, acts as an invisible barrier on surfaces. Cells that would normally respond to implanted devices and cause the complications, simply don’t react to the presence of the device.

“This will ultimately improve the long-term outcome for patients receiving these life-changing treatments.”

Through the Seed-Start program*, the Government of South Australia granted TekCyte more than $300,000 to help the business establish its manufacturing facility and scale-up development of the BIOINVISIBLE™ coating process.

“The funding has also allowed TekCyte to expand on the types of materials it can coat, which will allow us to target a broader range of devices and reach a larger cross-section of device manufacturers,” said Dr Simula.

The business is now looking to apply its technology to other industries, with existing research suggesting the TekCyte BIOINVISIBLE™ coating could help reduce common fouling of large-scale filtration membranes.

“There are published articles with good evidence of this potential, and with TekCyte’s unique and patented coating process, we believe there is a much larger commercial opportunity in this market, with lower barriers to entry.

“TekCyte has already reached out to a local desalination supplier and studies are underway to assess BIOINVISIBLE™ on a prototype filtration membrane.”


*The Seed-Start Program provides early-stage high growth potential startups with grants of between $50,000 - $500,000. The Seed-Start Program is an initiative of the Government’s Research and Innovation Fund (RIF) (formerly Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund).

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