Highly Effective, Durable Antimicrobial and Antiviral Coatings

Company Profile

Inhibit Coatings Ltd was founded in November 2016 by Professor Jim Johnston, Dr Eldon Tate (Victoria University of Wellington), and their industry colleagues Hayden Nicholson, Lorne Crowley and Andy Taylor (The Polymer Group, Auckland), to commercialise a new, highly effective and durable antimicrobial and antiviral coating technology. This has applications in the paint and coatings, food processing, healthcare and medical devices, flooring, textile, furniture and upholstery, and transport areas. Jim and Hayden are Founding Directors and Eldon is the Founding CEO.
The innovative technology which uses smart chemistry, to permanently bind antimicrobial silver entities to a wide range of polymer-based coating materials, was created by research chemists Professor Jim Johnston and his then PhD student Dr Eldon Tate. The technology is highly effective against different types of microorganisms including gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria (> 99.9% reduction), antibiotic resistant superbugs (e.g. MRSA, > 99.9% reduction), viruses (> 99% reduction), and fungi (no growth detected). The product is non-toxic and non-irritating.

Company website

The Relationship

Jim is a Founding Principal Investigator of the NZ Product Accelerator which provided financial support for Eldon Tate in his PhD research programme that Jim supervised. After completing his PhD and following the formation of Inhibit Coatings. CEO Eldon has led it through two successful capital investment rounds, product development and industry engagements. Inhibit Coatings now employs 5 people and supports a Master’s student or regularly supports Master’s and summer research students. The Technical Lead, Dr Emma Wrigglesworth, also completed her PhD research under Jim at Victoria University of Wellington and received funding support from the NZ Product Accelerator.


The Impact

Inhibit Coatings has developed and is commercialising its world leading highly effective and durable antimicrobial and antiviral coatings technology for a wide range of everyday industry and consumer applications. The company is working closely with a number of NZ and international companies in the different application areas listed above. Inhibit Coatings has filed patent specifications in a number of countries, which so far have been granted in the US, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and India. The uniqueness and competitive advantage of the technology and antimicrobial performance of the products, together with their development and end-user industry applications, have been recognised by Inhibit Coatings receiving a number of prestigious Awards. These include the Techconnect World Innovation Awards in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022; named one of Hello Tomorrow’s Deep Tech Pioneers in the Global Challenge, Paris, 2020; the Norman Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award at the 2020 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards; and the Trans-Tasman Innovation and Growth Award 2022.

The Value

Inhibit Coatings’ innovative, highly effective and durable antimicrobial and antiviral coating technology is world-leading. It has applications in a wide range of consumer and industry products which are being commercialised progressively. Inhibit Coatings has developed a high-performance, long-lasting, cost-effective, and sustainable solution that works to safeguard our communities and environment.








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