Frontier IP Group Plc (LON:FIPP) Chief Executive Officer Neil Crabb caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss Palintest launching Molendotech’s bathing water test
Q1: First off, can I just ask what Molendotech is & what was announced?
A1: Molendotech is a spin-out we set up under a year ago from Plymouth University & it’s focussed on detecting faecal bacteria in water.
So, if you think about where you swim or later when you’re drinking or food you might eat, obviously it’s coming into contact with water& if that water is contaminated, there’s a risk you become ill. Centrally, the technology from the Palintest, from the team at Plymouth, is around being able to check that much more quickly than is currently done.
Q2: Why is the announcement important to Frontier IP?
A2: Well, we have a very strong emphasise on trying to drive industry adoption of technology so that we can get it rapidly deployed within the market & Palintest, who are our partner in this, are part of Halma plc (LON:HLMA), the FTSE 100 company who are global leaders in water testing.
So, we got them to look at the potential & they feel it has a really strong place in the market but clearly, they are much better at delivering that than a university spin-out would be going directly itself to try & sell to local authorities or whoever the customer might be.
So, it’s really, from our point of view, strong validation of our model that if you engage in the right way, you can get early industry adoption, in this case it’s been less than a year from creating the spin-out to getting a FTSE 100 company actually launching the test commercially on the market.
Q3: What else is in Frontier IP Group’s portfolio then?
A3: So, we’ve got a broad spread, really reflective of the wide range of research that we find in the universities that we’re working with.
If we look across, some of the highlights I would draw attention is something called Nandi Proteins, which is allowing protein to be used to reduce the sugar, fat and additives that are commonly found in processed food. They are already working with, for example, Devro plc (LON:DVO), a FTSE 250 company & a number of other major food groups where there’s strong pressure on the food industry to essentially make healthier processed foods. We’ve already seen that in the drinks arena with the sugar tax & the same pressures exist within the food market so they’re helping to address that.
Looking at Plymouth specifically, we’ve got another spin out called Fieldwork Robotics which is, as the name might suggest, developing robots that are specifically for use in agriculture, that’s for picking soft fruit and vegetables, & there has been a lot of industry interest in that as well. There is ongoing pressure to reduce the labour component within agriculture & this technology can play a part in helping that both in the UK & abroad.
We’ve got another company, Alusid, which is a spin-out from the University of Central Lancashire, & that’s taking waste form the porcelain and glass industry and turning it into novel building materials & it does that in a very economic fashion So, we’ve already seen strong interest in a range of customers there that have been adopting that technology which is encouraging.
Final one I would draw attention to is Tarsis Technology, out of Cambridge, & that’s taking a different type of novel material, metal-organic frameworks. It basically allows you to create a porous matrix in which you can lock particles to allow them to be delivered in a much more controlled way than is currently done. So, a broad spectrum.