University spin-out battles bed bugs with pheromone innovation

Close up of bed bug on fabric

Innovate UK-backed Vecotech Ltd has opened a new front in the war against bedbugs, in the form of its new product BugScents.

BugScents is a novel pheromone-based bed bug lure with unique patented technology. It uses a globally patented formulation designed to attract bed bugs by mimicking the natural aggregation pheromone, to improve the detection and monitoring of infestations.

This technology has been developed to provide pest controllers with an effective and environmentally friendly solution for bed bug monitoring. The lure is versatile and compatible with a wide range of monitoring devices.

The company is the first spin-out of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and has been supported by a Smart grant of £220,000 from Innovate UK.

Ground-breaking research

The novel bed bug pheromone composition used in BugScents has resulted from more than a decade of collaborative scientific research by world-leading experts in medical entomology and chemical ecology at LSHTM and Rothamsted Research.

Vecotech scientists have successfully taken on the task of translating this ground-breaking research into a technological application using the latest advancements in formulation, materials, and manufacturing technology.

Richard Hebdon, Innovate UK’s Interim Deputy Director – Health & Life Sciences said:

BugScents is a great example of applying great research to a much-needed solution to a real-world problem. By backing Vecotech’s innovation, Innovate UK has helped to bring a great product to market whilst supporting a promising university spin-out enterprise.

The development of this product is all the more remarkable for having taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the challenges this has brought to businesses.

Professor Elena Lurie-Luke, Vecotech CEO, says:

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19, business optimisation is not enough – SMEs must find new ways to disrupt their business operations. Businesses need to do more than adapt and optimise, they need to innovate!

This innovation is multidimensional, involving technological innovation and operational model innovation. The Vecotech team has embraced this challenge and, in collaboration with UK-based partners, brought a new product to the market.

Further information

Vecotech Ltd is a spin-out of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Vecotech’s mission is to advance scientific discoveries to improve public health across the globe.

LSHTM is a world-leading centre for research, postgraduate studies and continuing education in public and global health. It has a strong international presence with over 3,000 staff and 4,000 students working in the UK and countries around the world, and an annual research income of £180 million.

Rothamsted Research is a world-leading, non-profit research centre that focuses on strategic agricultural science to the benefit of farmers and society worldwide.

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