Vestagen Technical Textiles, Inc. announces completion of an $8.25 million financing. Vestagen markets Vestex®, the first in a new class of medical devices based on active barrier protective fabrics that are clinically proven to prevent or reduce the acquisition and retention of contaminants on clothing. Vestex garments are engineered to have robust liquid repellency and antimicrobial properties, along with breathability, comfort and durability. The financing was led by new investor Advent Life Sciences. Alliance Healthcare Investment Fund also participated in the financing, along with founding investor V-Ten Capital and other private investors. Vestagen intends to use the proceeds from the financing to accelerate the commercial launch of medical scrub uniforms and other protective apparel made from its proprietary Vestex fabrics.
Contaminated clothing has been shown in multiple studies to be an important conduit of bacteria to healthcare workers, who have the highest rate of illness of any occupation in the U.S. More than a dozen peer-reviewed studies document the contamination of clothing in healthcare facilities where there are patients infected with resistant organisms such as MRSA and C. difficile. These difficult-to-treat organisms put healthcare workers at risk and are responsible for many of the most serious hospital acquired infections.
In a clinical study published in the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers reported a statistically significant MRSA reduction of more than 99.99 percent on the Vestex scrubs compared to standard uniforms. Importantly, this study illustrated that the healthcare workers wearing Vestex had lower levels of microbes present on their garments than on their hands, in contrast with the group wearing the standard scrubs, where the level of contamination on the workers' hands and scrubs was equal.
"Healthcare workers know to wash their hands between patients, but they cannot easily change their scrubs. We developed Vestex in response to a major unmet need for durable, comfortable, continuous-wear garments that would protect healthcare workers from the potentially dangerous contaminants they encounter on the job every day," says Uncas B. Favret, III, president and CEO of Vestagen.
Favret adds, "Vestex is the first technology-based active barrier fabric engineered to transform scrub uniforms into medical devices that protect healthcare workers and those with whom they come in contact. Our proprietary fluid repellent, antimicrobial and moisture management technologies work together to prevent the acquisition and retention of microbes and other contaminants on healthcare workers' clothing, while ensuring comfort. The unique protective properties of Vestex scrub uniforms are supported with peer-reviewed clinical data, and we are in the process of filing for FDA clearance as a Class 2 medical device. Initial acceptance by healthcare workers and institutions has been excellent."
Vestex incorporates three distinct proprietary technologies – a durable fluid barrier technology, an antimicrobial technology and a technology for enhanced wearer comfort. The fluid barrier technology creates a special structured surface that binds to individual fibers, resulting in a fabric that is highly repellent to bodily fluids, water, oil, dirt and dust. This high degree of repellency is designed to work synergistically with Vestagen's antimicrobial technology, which has been shown to be effective against a broad spectrum of organisms in vitro and is based on a proprietary agent that has never been associated with microbial adaptation or resistance in 25 years of use. Vestex's third technology acts to wick away moisture from the inside of the fabric, enabling evaporation and creating a cooling effect for wearers while accelerating drying.
"Growing concerns about the human and system-wide costs of hospital acquired infections give healthcare providers, payors, workers and regulators a shared interest in finding solutions," says Dale Pfost, PhD, a general partner at Advent Life Sciences. "By improving healthcare worker safety, we believe that we can also improve patient safety. Vestex combines three innovative technologies to transform healthcare uniforms from potential sources of contamination into medical devices designed to protect workers and their patients, in the form of everyday work garments that are comfortable, durable and competitively priced."
Pfost adds, "There are additional applications for Vestex fabrics in other industries where workers are routinely exposed to biological contaminants, and we look forward to supporting the company as it works with multiple partners and regulatory agencies to extend access to this unique set of products."
In conjunction with the financing, Pfost is joining the Vestagen board of directors as executive chairman, and Joe Mayernik of Alliance Healthcare Investment Fund is joining as a director. James P. Karides, CPA, of V-Ten Capital Partners is continuing as a director.
Source: Vestagen Technical Textiles