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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Dividend Article

Surfacide Solutions

[Cu]poxy to Transform the Way We Combat Infectious Diseases
By Andrea Verner

Left to right: positive E. Coli bacterial control, negative bacterial control, untreated epoxy surface, and three proprietary [Cu]poxy blends of increasing formulation strength
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 722,000 cases of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) in the United States, and about 75,000 of those hospital patients died as a result.

In response to this staggering figure, Surfacide Solutions is working to develop a product that uses an antimicrobial coating to harness the natural antimicrobial properties of copper to proactively and continuously protect against bacteria and virus transmission from high touch surfaces. The product is called [Cu]poxy.

“Infections are a global problem,” said Sam Robertson, founder and CEO of Surfacide Solutions. “With a little bit of help, we can make the world a safer, healthier place.”

The Surfacide Solutions team consists of four WSU student bioengineers: Sam Robertson (CEO), Kristin Bryant (COO), Christina Crow (CTO), and Brian Gabriel (VP processing) and an entrepreneurial partner, Connor Harber (VP sales and marketing). This multi-disciplinary combination brings together business insight with technical expertise. The team is experienced in cellular biology, chemistry, engineering design and business finance and won fourth place in the WSU Business Plan Competition.

Easily applied copper solution tough on germs

infographic[Cu]poxy has a simple paint-on application process that dries quickly. Once dried, [Cu]poxy is resistant to water and common cleaning chemicals as well as abrasion and wear, creating a long-lasting coating. This allows for the product to be easily incorporated into facilities without needing to replace equipment, door handles, or other surfaces. The application lasts roughly three years and uses less copper [CU] than copper alloy handles.

The team initially plans to focus on hospitals, nursing care facilities, retirement communities and hospice and palliative care centers. As the product develops, there’s an opportunity to expand beyond health care facilities and target gyms, schools, daycares, public transportation vehicles, airports, public restrooms, and more.

A shining future

Interviews with potential customers showing interest in [Cu]poxy and have provided great insight into market potential. For example, Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH) recently received a $10,000 grant from the Copper Development Association to replace high-touch surfaces with copper alloys.

Ed Harrich, head of surgery, and Connie Koal, director of employee health and infection control at PRH, both emphasized the growing potential of copper in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Despite being a small rural hospital with 26 beds, PRH has pushed to allocate $5,000 annually for the incorporation of copper surfaces, a testament to the potential for [Cu]poxy in healthcare settings.

While the team plans to pursue the opportunity to acquire a patent, two of the group members are pursuing Ph.D.’s, and the others are beginning their industry careers. To move forward with their business concept, the team would need to enter a testing phase to receive FDA and EPA approval and raise approximately $175,000.

If interested in learning more about Surfacide Solutions LLC or investing in the company, please contact Sam Robertson at