COVID-killing face masks? Yep, you read that right.

PPK Group (ASX:PPK) has partnered with Xefco to create a new joint venture company Survivon Ltd which will immediately start producing anti-viral, antibacterial face masks.

An independent study by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity showed that the ultra-thin nano-scale coating of 99.95% pure copper can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 (the virus associated with COVID-19) in as little as five minutes.

PPK is most often associated with Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT), but the company is always on the lookout for new opportunities in breakthrough technologies.

It has a range of spin-off technologies and has material stakes in Li-S energy batteries, Craig International Ballistics and White Graphene.

Plus, Xefco’s technology was developed in partnership with Deakin University – who PPK have several joint ventures with – so it’s a no-brainer that the two companies would join forces.

Masks will be needed in the long-term

Speaking with Stockhead, PPK executive chairman Robin Levison said Deakin introduced the company to Xefco and they immediately liked what they saw.

“We like the technology, we like the people there, and we thought that we had some complementary skill sets that will work really well together,” he said.

“We’re not really interested in opportunities that are purely Australian or Australasian based.

“We think the copper mask has strong global opportunity – and that’s what excited us about the opportunity to joint venture with Xefco.

“We have a thesis that, unfortunately, mask wearing is going to be with us for a long time to come in some way, shape or form.

“It’s not something that will go away overnight, and we see the copper technology as a global opportunity we can expand into.”

Manufacturing factory already up and running

Levison said that as soon as the company recognised the opportunity, they acquired Mask Innovation Pty Ltd for around $1.6 million – which will be transferred to Survivon to facilitate the rapid move into manufacturing of the masks.

“When we saw the opportunity, we were lucky enough to be able to purchase an existing manufacturing factory that has TGA approval,” he said.

“PPK owns that facility but we’ve put the underlying manufacturing business into the joint venture.

“So, we’re able to manufacture and sell product from day one.”

The facility on the Gold Coast is already producing N95/R2 (everyday use) and three-ply surgical (molded to a face) masks, so Survivon will have production capacity of around five million masks per month.

The aim will be to start producing the copper-coated mask and potentially increase capacity.

Survivon will also look to license the technology to international manufacturers around the world.