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Parafricta secures £230,000 with help of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network
Low-friction fabric has many medical uses to ease suffering from bedsores and chronic wound

As part of a £230,000 funding round, the MedInnovate group of business angels from Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) has provided £115,000 of new funding to APA Parafricta Ltd, a developer of low-friction products for the medical sector. The balance of the new investment has come from the Bank of Scotland Corporate’s Growth Capital team under the unique Co-Investment Programme arrangement between the Bank and OION.

Proven to be significantly more effective than the traditionally used silk, but much more durable and washable at high temperatures, Parafricta™ fabric has the properties required for repeated use in demanding medical situations. Garments and bedding made from the unique ultra low-friction fabric are used to protect patient skin when there is a risk of damage to highly sensitive areas, resulting in bedsores or pressure ulcers. The smooth as ice fabric not only helps to prevent such sores developing in the first place, it also provides an environment in which dressings can function effectively, as they remain in place when subjected to friction. In addition, the woven nature of the material provides an excellent healing environment. Parafricta™ is aiming to become the leading brand for low-friction fabric in the medical healthcare sector, just as Goretex is for breathable waterproofing and Lycra is for stretchable sports wear.

To help prevent early skin damage developing into more serious wounds, especially for bed-bound patients, Parafricta has developed bed sheets that provide protection to sensitive areas of the body, legs and feet where the skin can be compromised or where wound dressings may be lost through friction. Parafricta™ pillowcases provide similar protection to the skin on the face, ears or head.

For more specific prevention and wound care, Parafricta has developed bootees and undergarments. Foot or leg ulcers are a particular problem for patients with diabetes, and the Parafricta™ bootee protects wound dressings on the foot, especially on the heel. The undergarment provides protection around the buttocks, an area that is under significant pressure when a patient is bedridden or spending long periods of time in a wheel chair.

APA Parafricta CEO, George Sampson, explained: “When patients have large dressings to treat ulcers or pressure sores, it is very important that they stay in place. The dressings are there to heal the wound – and for nasty open wounds, such as diabetic leg ulcers, this is quite a job. To maintain the correct healing atmosphere and environment, the dressing must not be moved.”

Friction from bed linen is a common cause of dressing failure, so a low-friction environment is extremely beneficial.

Sampson said: “When such serious wounds are exposed, there is a significantly increased risk of infection. In addition, when the dressings come off, there can be damage to the often already compromised periphery of the wound, further inhibiting the healing process.”

As well as the serious issues of patient welfare and comfort, the large sophisticated dressings that are now used to deal with such acute wounds are expensive and take time to apply. When healthcare resources are stretched, new procedures or techniques that can reduce costs and treatment times are welcome. For a patient being treated in the community, new dressings can typically cost between £3 and £5. And when the cost of the nurse to visit and change the dressing is taken into account, estimated as anywhere from £30 to £50 each time, having to renew the dressing only twice a week rather than everyday means that savings mount up quickly. Expenditure by the NHS in the UK on treatment of bedsores alone exceeds £2.1 billion every year.

The new funding is very timely for the company. Three case study investigations have shown the product significantly improves wound care for patients.

George Sampson said: “We have the potential to sell Parafricta™ products worldwide, and are looking to develop a network of global distributors. The investment secured through OION and Bank of Scotland will allow us to expand our marketing activities, including further improving our website for online sales direct to the public. We have had great support from OION, and throughout the process have appreciated how approachable Eileen Modral and her team have been.”

Eileen Modral, Investment Network Manager at OION, commented: “Parafricta’s products have great potential to ease suffering for patients with chronic wounds and we are pleased that we have been able to help with raising investment at a crucial time in the company’s development.”

The Co-Investment Programme was launched by OION and Bank of Scotland Corporate’s Growth Capital team in early 2008. Through the £2 million Programme, the Bank will match funds from OION investors in innovative technology companies.

Malcolm Kpedekpo, Associate Director at Bank of Scotland Growth Capital, said: “Parafricta clearly has enormous potential. And the fact that as the company grows, suffering for many more patients will be eased, is a terrific win-win situation.”

- ENDS -
Editors notes
Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, Oxford Investment Opportunity Network.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 811199 E-mail:

Image available on request
A patient uses the Parafricta™ bedsheet, which contains unique ultra low-friction fabric to prevent bedsores or pressure ulcers.

About Parafricta
APA Parafricta Ltd was formed in July 2004, funded by the company’s directors and other private investors together with The Oxford Trust and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts). The company owns the Parafricta™ brand and all patents and know-how relating to the technology of Parafricta™.

The board and senior management of APA Parafricta Ltd consists of individuals with significant healthcare, wound care, innovation and business start-up experience.

The company’s Founder and Technical Director is Tony Pike. In 1996, while driving through Tulse Hill in south London, Pike came across a road accident that started him thinking about the benefits of a flexible stretcher – a chain of thought that eventually led to development of the Parafricta™ technologies.

CEO, George Sampson, has worked for over 25 years in the medical products segment of the healthcare market, with invaluable experience of managing regulatory and reimbursement activities as well as board-level responsibilities for global marketing, commercial activities and partnership relationships.

Chairman, Michael Clark, has current experience in the development of wound care products, a background in the materials, electronics and consumer industries, and works with a number of SME companies as an entrepreneur and business angel.

Non-Executive Director, David Moseley, is an experienced businessman with extensive contacts in the world of small businesses and business startups. His skills in sales and financial management were instrumental in achieving high growth at Sintrom plc and Cylink, both of which went through an IPO whilst he was on the board.

Non-Executive Director, Peter Henry, has recently joined Parafricta. He is a marketing and branding expert who has experience of successfully building company value to bring a business to sale in medical and healthcare markets through his role with Thor International, market leader in the emerging field of photomedicine.

Parafricta™ fabric is smoother than silk, tougher than nylon, yet easy to launder – properties which make it ideal for use in preventing the development of bedsores and for protecting wound dressings.

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are caused in roughly equal measures by pressure (when the blood supply to the skin is cut off for two or three hours) and by friction acting on the skin. The anti-shear properties of Parafricta™ fabric reduce the effects of friction and, therefore, help prevent bedsores.

Among other products the company is developing is Parafricta™ plate, a mechanical system utilising matrices of opposing spheres and a holding plate. The Parafricta™ plate acts as a linear bearing plate. It was originally designed to introduce an inflatable stretcher under a road traffic victim but has much wider applications.
For more information:

About Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION)
Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) is Europe’s most successful technology business angel network that links investors with entrepreneurs seeking business development funds up to £2 million.
OION holds monthly meetings where selected companies from across the UK pitch their proposals to OION’s members, which include over 150 active business angels, VCTs and fund representatives.

Many of these companies are university spin-outs and OION has strong links with universities with a reputation for spinning out quality technology companies such as: Warwick, Oxford, Bristol, University College London and Imperial College London.

OION has two successful sister networks. Thames Valley Investment Network links investors in the Reading and Thames Valley area with companies in the general technology, media and green tech sectors seeking funding from £150,000 to £750,000. Oxford Early Investments helps very early stage companies raise funding from £25,000 to £150,000.

OION is managed by Oxford Innovation Ltd (, the UK’s leading operator of Innovation Centre premises for growing companies, and sponsored by Laytons, Frank B Dehn & Co, NESTA and Bank of Scotland Corporate. For more information:

About the Co-Investment Programme
On 29 January 2008, Bank of Scotland Growth Capital and Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) formally launched a Co-Investment Programme that provides a new source of funding for innovative companies.

Under the terms of the Co-Investment Programme the Bank has made available £2 million to invest during 2008 alongside investor members of OION, and its sister investment networks, Thames Valley Investment Network and Oxford Early Investments. The Bank will typically invest from £25,000 to £250,000 per deal, with all investments being made on exactly the same terms as OION’s investor members.

About Bank of Scotland’s Growth Capital team
Bank of Scotland’s Growth Capital team makes direct equity investments into a variety of businesses across a range of sectors. It makes investments directly from the Bank’s balance sheet, not from a fund. It therefore has the flexibility to work with management teams to facilitate an exit at the right time for the business itself.

Since 2001 the team has made over 40 investments worth some £200 million. Recent investments include: Red Spider Technology, Cel-F Solar, Rocela Group, Pi Capital, Leaseway and Artimi Inc.

It looks for the following criteria in potential investee companies:
• Two years’ revenue with a positive sales trend
• Exhibits above average growth
• Experienced, well-balanced management team
• Large UK or global market
• Competitive advantage period of three to four years
• Strong corporate governance
• Good exit prospects
• Equity requirement £1m and above
For more information:

Publisher Contact Information:

The Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION)
+ 44 (0)1865 811199

Company profile of The Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION)
Past press releases of The Oxfordshire Investment Opportunity Network (OION).


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