GRAND HAVEN — A $5 million private equity investment supports UV Angel’s move toward the marketplace with a new product that cleans the air in hospitals and other facilities.
Coming to market this spring, UV Angel Air uses the Grand Haven-based company’s ultraviolet light technology in ceiling light fixtures. Air goes in one side of the fixtures, passes under the ultraviolet light, and then exits clean on the other side.
The system is the latest product developed by UV Angel and extends a product portfolio to include cleaning the air of pathogens, along with the ability to sanitize work and other surfaces without disruption.
UV Angel Air targets airborne pathogens that can easily get stirred up by activity in a room and typically remain after surface cleanings, causing recontamination.
“We’re in business to control pathogens and we do that in a multitude of ways,” said Tom Byrne, CEO of UV Angel.
Byrne saw the potential for UV Angel Air after noticing “you had all of this cleaning happening, yet we obviously have infections.” The product gives UV Angel “another element in this whole fight against these transmissions, and that is air treatment,” he said.
“What I noticed was that many of the surfaces that weren’t touched frequently were also contaminated. So where was that coming from? And everything continued to point to the air,” Byrne said. “If there’s a way to reduce exposure by treating the surfaces and the air at the time of contamination, then we think that’s a tremendous advantage to everyone involved.”
That’s especially true in health care settings, where hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. continue to result in thousands of patient deaths annually.
UV Angel Air has applications in other settings beyond hospitals such as commercial buildings, schools, and perhaps even cruise ships. UV Angel Air also can collect data for analysis on the air quality of a space, allowing users to take a more proactive approach to infection prevention.
The recent private equity investment from Lionfish Investments in Bloomfield Hills puts UV Angel in a position to move to the next stage with the release of UV Angel Air and other products.
“We are very poised to move ahead quite nicely over this next period,” Byrne said. “It’s a very exciting time for the company.”
UV Angel developed the new product with Dr. Linda Lee, whom Byrne met while she was speaking at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C on the potential contamination of air.
Lee joined UV Angel last year as director of medical and science affairs. An expert in facilities management and environmental health and safety practices, Lee sees UV Angel Air offering hospitals a way to readily treat the air in a room without adding to the duties or burden of staff.
“My interest has always been how can you engineer the environment (for) people who were trying to take care of patients, who already had a thousand things to do, and who were also trying to do all of these others tasks besides take care of patents?” Lee said.
UV Angel Air essentially automates that cleaning process, Lee said.
UV Angel’s initial product was a device attached atop medical and other equipment in a hospital that uses ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces. UV Angel Air “is very complementary to what we’re doing” and expands the technology’s use, Byrne said.
“We have a technology platform that can be used in multiple ways,” he said.
UV Angel looks to develop and bring to market products using the UV technology under its own brand, through partnerships with OEMs such as medical equipment makers, and licensing its use to other companies to embed into their products.
The company expects to make a number of announcements in the coming months on new products and strategic partnerships. Potential deals with OEM partners are “coming at us fast and furious,” as are a “number of license opportunities,” Byrne said.