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UH-based nanotech business expands nationally

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A nanotech company created by a physicist at the University of Houston has signed a deal to expand its national reach.

Integricote, which produces sealers and stains for wood, masonry and concrete, manufactures the coatings in facilities at the UH Energy Research Park.

The company made its first delivery to Arisfor, LLC in May, said Seamus "Shay" Curran, CEO of Integricote and a physics professor at UH.

The company also has a Texas distribution deal with Binford Supply and handles direct sales of its products under the name CaraPro.

"We're now getting our name recognized nationally," Curran said. "It's not just a small company spun out of a university, with a product from a professor's lab. It's a real product."

Marketed as Arisfor Multi-Surface Waterproofer, the coating is available throughout Arisfor's East Coast distribution region, which stretches from Pennsylvania to Florida.

Unlike traditional polymer-based sealants, Integricote uses a nanotechnology-based formula that binds to concrete and masonry from the inside upon application. That allows the penetrating sealer to become a part of the concrete and masonry itself, protecting against water intrusion, acids and deicing salts. Arisfor is marketing it for both residential and commercial use, targeting new or untreated concrete construction, masonry and precast applications.

Integricote launched in late 2013 with a water- and stain-repellant coating Curran had developed; the company later shifted to concentrate on the masonry and concrete applications.

Curran and his team have focused on commercializing their technology since the official launch.

"He and his team have worked really hard to get this to market from the lab bench," said Tom Campbell, executive director of the Office of Intellectual Property Management at UH. "The deal with Arisfor will give him national reach."

Among its advantages over other products, Arisfor notes that it requires only a single coat application and dries in less than 30 minutes. Once applied, the surface texture and color is unchanged. The coating is expected to last between two and six years, depending on environmental conditions, before a reapplication is required.

"This partnership with a technology company born from academia has enlightened us to a world of possibilities and opportunities," said Martin Doody, director of sales and marketing for Arisfor. "In working with Integricote, only one question remains: What can we come up with next?"

Integricote has moved production into a renovated space at the Energy Research Park and has the capacity to manufacture 100,000 gallons per year, Curran said. The company remains small, with just six employees, including Curran.

Local sales have come mostly through homeowners' associations and similar organizations, with repeat orders beginning to come in even before the Arisfors' deal.

"Our April sales were double those in March," Curran said. "May sales doubled April. We're seeing growth."

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Jeannie Kever
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