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  • Innovation Interview: Delox – Advancing bio-decontamination solutions for everyone, everywhere

    by Amy Murphy | Mar 26, 2024 | Reading time: 4 minutes | Blog

    Evolution greatly helps projects by translating science into an excellent proposal, which will lead to fantastic products shaping the European Union landscape!

    Fadhil Musa

    Co-founder, Delox

     

    Born out of 7 years of intensive research at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Sciences, Delox is a spin-off dedicated to explore innovation in the bio-decontamination field.

    Their groundbreaking inventions, such as the Delox AIR module—a technology based on a solid formulation of hydrogen peroxide— enables the development of a new generation of bio-decontamination systems that can be applied across various industries, including Health, Pharma, Industry 4.0, Biodefense, and Space.

    Recently, it was announced that Delox was one of the EIC Accelerator November 2023 cut-off winners, securing blended finance: a €1.9 million grant and €2.8 million in equity,

    We are proud at Evolution Europe to have supported this disruptive company throughout the rigorous EIC Accelerator process. They acheived funding for the EIC Accelerator Challenge call: Aerosol and surface decontamination for pandemic management.

    Discover our interview with Delox’s co-founder, Fadhil Musa, as we explore the startup’s journey,  technology, & plans.

     

    Delox Picture - Pitch Fadhil Musa

     

    1.Delox´s journey started long before COVID or the EIC Challenge to address Social Distancing. Can you please share the company’s backstory?

    Delox started in 2018, as a company, following years of research on our hydrogen peroxide formulation, DeloxHP in the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. Our initial aim was diabetes and wound healing, but in 2016, we recognized the huge potential of our technology for hydrogen peroxide vaporization, and thus, bio-decontamination.

     

    Long before COVID-19, we were working on bio-decontamination products, and per definition, they could only be used in contained enclosures or sealed rooms. Often, our testers/customers would ask us if they could use our technology while present in a room. Our answer was always no, but that consistent question implanted another one in our minds: “what if we could?” That sparkled the Delox Air project, which essentially consists of bio-decontamination compatible with human presence.

    2. Why is the DeloxAIR a gamechanger? What will be different for Europe after the EIC Accelerator project?

    There are a plethora of purification technologies that vary in their efficacy, but generally ranging from 90 % to 99.9 %. Bio-decontamination is more effective, starting at 99.99 % (at least 10x better than the best purification technologies) but cannot be executed with someone in a room, as it is hazardous to human health.

    Delox Air is a bio-decontamination device, but it is compatible with human presence! In a hospital, people will be in a room constantly protected from airborne pathogens and “superbugs”. In an epidemic/pandemic, people can be together, while Delox Air is continuously working to prevent disease transmission. With Delox Air, we want to remove social isolation out of the equation – that is the game-changer.

     

    3. What aspect of your collaboration with Evolution was most helpful for securing EIC funding?

    A winning proposal needs a winning team. Delox has experience writing grants, but EIC Accelerator is a totally different level.

    Furthermore, although we initially had a solid concept for developing Delox Air, the EIC Accelerator Challenge prompted us to reassess our business plan, and Evolution was pivotal in improving and refining the business model and go-to-market strategy. Besides, the writing of the proposal was elevated to a very high standard; we could not have achieved this without Evolution’s help.

     

    4. Portugal is a rising center for entrepreneurship in Europe. Why? How has Delox benefitted from being a Portuguese company?

    Today, and thanks to the work of many players in the ecosystem, a Portuguese company is perceived as highly innovative, and on par with the best European startups – and this is a change important for the entire ecosystem.

    Also, Portugal is strongly investing in entrepreneurship and we have received many opportunities not only for funding, but also for acceleration programs, industry contacts. This enabled us to mature the project to a point where we were prepared to submit a strong application to the EIC Accelerator.

     

    5. Do you have advice for other startups pursuing EIC Accelerator funding?

    Firstly, patience is key – success may not come immediately. Secondly, feedback from the EIC Accelerator jury was important to understand and identify the flaws in the project planning, and particularly in the scientific communication.

    Clearly articulating deep-tech ideas is crucial, as the jury often lacks time to delve into the technicalities of a project. This leads to misunderstandings, or poor judgements that can be traced back to a bad proposal writing.

    Of course, experienced consultants such as Evolution greatly help in translating science into an excellent proposal, that eventually will lead to fantastic products, ultimately shaping the European Union landscape!

     

     

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