Antibacterial plastic applications studied by Havre de Grace start-up

CCL Biomedical, a start-up technology company, has opened shop in Havre de Grace, where it will seek commercial applications of a discovery made by its two founders while working at the University of Delaware.

Nina Lamba and Stuart L. Cooper, who worked together as researchers at the university, founded the company. Lamba is a resident of Joppatowne and was doing postdoctorate work at the school. Cooper was a faculty member.


Like many technology companies just starting out, CCL Biomedical's operations will be small. Lamba, who serves as chief operating officer, said the company has three employees, counting herself and Cooper. An additional hire is planned sometime in the next few months.

The company's research and development involves finding commercial markets for a family of antibacterial compounds that can to tied to polymers, creating antibacterial plastics.


Lamba said the plastics could be used in medical devices, food preparation, and in the protective clothing by worn doctors, nurses and military personnel.

"If bacteria settles on the plastic, it will kill it," said Lamba. She said this could benefit the medical industry because the plastic could be used in the surgical gowns worn by doctors. "If live bacteria splashes onto the gown during an operation," she said, "it would be destroyed."

The company also sees a benefit to soldiers on the battlefield. Lamba said that combat uniforms could use the compound, offering some protection against infection from a battlefield wound.

She said there is also a potential for it to protect soldiers from biological warfare.

"If we can get the development right," she said, "it could help soldiers in the field who come under attack by biological weapons." The biological agent would be destroyed when coming into contact with the soldier's uniform.

The company is currently financed by two small federal grants to small business to fund technology research and development, according to the Harford County Office of Economic Development.

Lamba said it could be two to five years before the company is ready to begin manufacturing.

Havre de Grace is one of two technology districts designated by the county.


The other is an area that centers on Waters Edge Corporate Campus, follows the U.S. 40 and Interstate 95 corridor, and includes the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center, near Aberdeen.