January 16, 2019

Axine inks wastewater treatment deal with ‘leading’ pharma manufacturer

Photo by Chung Chow

The Vancouver tech firm behind an electrochemical method of cleaning harmful wastewater has signed a deal with a “leading” pharmaceuticals manufacturer headquartered in the U.S.

Axine Water Technologies CEO Jonathan Rhone said the contract is worth six figures over a five-year term.

“For the pharmaceutical industry this is a relatively new market for us and we’re finding that there is a very strong fit for what we’re able to do with our technology to be able to solve pain points,” he told Business in Vancouver two days after the deal was announced January 8.

Axine has developed a proprietary electrochemical technology that uses electricity and catalysts to break down the bonds between large organic molecules.

Axine Water Technologies CEO Jonathan Rhone, with one of his company’s water treatment devices | Photo: Chung Chow

“We basically break them right back to trace byproduct gases: oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, which are just released to the atmosphere. And we do it without producing any waste and we do it without producing any chemicals,” Rhone said.

Axine’s modular devices can be installed in a matter of hours, while sizes can vary from dimensions similar to that of a fridge to much larger commercial units.

The company has spent the past few months fine-tuning their capabilities for the pharmaceutical manufacturer, which is expected to have the system operational in a New England plant early this year.

Rhone said he couldn’t disclose the name of the client but he described it as a “leading, brand-name pharmaceutical manufacturer headquartered in the United States.”

He said the deal gives Axine the chance to showcase the technology and let the manufacturer consider deploying it at other plants it owns.

“Our strategy has been to work with larger strategic customers where we can get a first system installed … and then work with them to expand and replicate our solution,” Rhone said.

Axine does not sell its technology directly to customers.

Instead, the technology is offered as a service that Axine owns and operates remotely from a network operations centre in Vancouver.

Rhone said this allows customers to apply the technology as an operating cost rather than having to make a capital investment.

“It’s actually been able to accelerate market acceptance because … customers don’t have to go fight for capital and they can actually make decisions right at the plant level,” he said.

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