Startup Kayban turns superfood into superbug fighter

petri dish

Australian start-up Kayban has developed the world’s first anti-microbial healthcare range made from organic flaxseed oil following a collaboration with CSIRO.

The company hopes the range of topical lotions and washes, called Bio3 Guardian, will provide the main revenue stream and has plans to take the innovation to the global healthcare market.

According to independent tests, the products are fast-acting and effective at killing golden staph (Staphylococcus aureus), a prevalent superbug that led to 1621 hospital-acquired infection cases in 2013-14.

Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid with known anti-microbial properties.

With the support of a Victorian Government Innovation and Technology Voucher, Kayban and CSIRO developed the method for extracting the crucial alpha-linolenic acid from organic flaxseed.

“The challenge was to come up with a cost-effective manufacturing technology that consistently produced excellent quality, highly enriched alpha-linolenic acid,” CSIRO organic chemist, Dr Peter Duggan says.

“What we’ve achieved is a smarter, more efficient process that’s been pivotal in Kayban’s journey to commercialising a unique saleable product.”

The technology has been transferred to Melbourne-based CSIRO spin out, Boron Molecular, to extract the flaxseed component for Kayban on a multi-kilogram scale.

Kayban will then work with another local manufacturer to formulate the end product.

“It’s hugely rewarding that this research collaboration has led to new business and growth opportunities for three Australian SMEs.

“Here at CSIRO, we take pride in our role as a key player assisting local SMEs and manufacturers to bring their high technology products to the market,” Dr Duggan says.

Kayban Director, Frank Palermo, says Bio3 Guardian is a better way for preventing the spread of infection.

“Our products contain a unique antimicrobial formula that uses natural flaxseed oil properties, instead of ethanol, to kill bad bacteria while leaving essential good bacteria intact,” Palermo says.

“It’s a moisturising, all-natural alternative to ethanol-based products that can cause skin to dry and crack upon repeated use and increase chances of developing conditions like dermatitis.

“That’s going to benefit nurses, doctors and patients in hospitals and aged care homes who regularly need to use sanitisers and disinfectants to maintain hygiene or care for wounds.”

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