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Auckland-based Texus Fibre, a leader in developing functional materials derived from natural wool, has signed a wide-ranging investment and distribution agreement with Auckland company, Healthy Breath Limited (HBL), which will see the wool-based Helix Filter from Texus deployed in a new generation of urban face masks marketed to Asia. 

Poor air quality claims seven million lives annually according to the World Health Organisation, with urban air pollution accounting for four million of these fatalities. As a result, consumers in countries such as India and China buy facemasks worth USD$2 billion per year – with double-digit sales growth every year. 

Texus CEO Nick Davenport believes New Zealand is perfectly equipped to move wool up the value ladder with products that have a natural competitive advantage.

“We’ve created something unique – an end-to-end supply chain which starts by getting the supply genetics right and goes right through to the manufacture of a high-value, scientifically verified product here in New Zealand.”
Now New Zealand woolgrowers are poised to claim a significant chunk of this market with the introduction of a revolutionary air filter derived from a programme supported by specifically bred high-country sheep.

Helix Filters harness and enhance wool’s unique functionalities such as electrostatic performance and toxin removal. The ‘active’ wool fibre structure uses the fibres’ unique biological properties to keep the filters drier and performing at optimum levels for longer. In urban face masks this means easier breathing with greater health protection.

HBL has taken a stake in Texus Fibre to build on the work developed over five years by Texus and its research partners who include Wool Industry Research Limited, AgResearch, AgMardt, Callaghan Innovation, NZTE and Nexus Foams Limited. Current investors include NZVIF, Global from Day One fund (GD1), Sparkbox Investments, Seraph VC and K1W1.

Wei Gao, the CEO of HBL, is excited about the potential of this new partnership.

“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with Texus Fibre. We are focused on developing products that will utilise Texus Fibre technologies and getting these products into the hands of consumers.”

Davenport says: “At the very heart of this is a New Zealand story, that of high-country sheep producing the world’s greatest natural fibre.” 

“Through this deal New Zealand wool is going to improve the health of millions of people across the planet. In so doing, Texus Fibre and Healthy Breath want to recognise the commitment of New Zealand’s sheep farmers by paying them a premium for what is, in all reality, an absolutely premium product – wool.” 

Photo: Nick Devonport and Andy Ramsden. 

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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