The University has signed a commercialization and collaboration agreement with Avalon Nanofibre Limited (Avalon) on 23 October 2014 to conduct further research on the nanofibre technology platform developed by Professor Wallace Woon-fong Leung, Chair Professor of Innovation Products & Technologies, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Leung's research team has been conducting research on the applications of the nanofibre technology platform and filtration/separation technologies for many years. A variety of materials could be potentially used for nanofibre production, and chitosan has been chosen for a specific application, namely, the development of nanofibre face mask. The chitosan based nanofibre offers unique and specific physicochemical properties. The presence of many positive charge groups can provide outstanding feature for filtration, biomedicine, and healthcare applications so as to attract the clusters of negative charges on the surface of viruses and bacteria like common pathogens such as Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.
The first commercial grade prototype of nanofibre face mask shall be available for evaluation in the coming six months, followed by the launch of marketable products within a year. Professor Leung commented, "It is very excited to gain the tremendous support from the top industry experts to commercialize this technology. Our research team enthusiastically looks forward to collaborating seamlessly with Avalon on the product development and further extends the technology into other applications."
The collaboration is a significant milestone in PolyU's engagement in collaborative research with the industry which maximizes the potential of technology development and the applicability of the new technology.
The agreement was signed by Dr Henry Feng, CEO of Avalon and PolyU's Executive Vice President Mr Nicholas Yang in today's ceremony. Dr Feng, former Chairman and CEO of China Petrochemical Development Corporation, Taiwan, and a distinguished industrialist, is teaming up with Dr Manson Fok, a successful medical doctor and biotech entrepreneur from Hong Kong; and Dr Johnson Yiu-Nam Lau, a successful academician who turned into a very successful pharmaceutical/biotechnology executive with a history of launching the second largest biotechnology initial public offering (IPO) in the US. Dr Fok will serve as the Chairman and Dr Lau will serve as the Vice-Chairman of Avalon.
Professor Leung has received a gold medal from 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva and a special award from the Romania Ministry of National Education in April 2014 for the nanofibre filtration technology. Professor Leung expresses acknowledgement to the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission, Hong Kong Research Grant Council and PolyU for providing the initial funding to support the early development and demonstration of the technology.