A company specialising in printable semiconductors for the manufacture of bendable mobile displays and electronics has doubled the size of its Manchester base as it looks to bring its products to market and further develop its technology.
The expansion of SmartKem’s laboratories at Hexagon Tower in Blackley, north Manchester, follows €3m of investment from BASF Venture Capital, Octopus Investments and Entrepreneurs Fund, as well as further funding from Finance Wales, the company’s principal shareholder.
SmartKem will use the new labs at Hexagon Tower to manufacture its tru-FLEXorganic semiconductor material.
The material is designed to allow the print production of flexible transistors to drive displays on flexible materials and heralds a new age of unbreakable and foldable displays for any application such as wearables technology, mobile and static displays.
Steve Kelly, chief executive of SmartKem, said: “With the current traction in the markets for new form factor mobile displays and wearable technology, the timing of the latest round of investment is ideal.
"We have a number of high value joint development agreements that require support to ensure the commercialisation of our ground-breaking semiconductors.
"With the market for printed, flexible and organic electronics set to grow to around $77bn by 2023, we are now well positioned to fully commercialise tru-FLEX and to satisfy the growing market demand.”
As well as investing in further space at the science park, SmartKem has taken on new staff as it looks to accelerate the commercialisation of its technology.
Hexagon Tower is a specialist biotech and chemical research facility in Manchester.
Stewart Needham, site facilities manager at Hexagon Tower, said: “The expansion of SmartKem’s laboratory is testament to the internationally-renowned, innovative technology it produces at Hexagon Tower.
“The company is not only leading the way in disruptive printable technology, it is also employing local people. The Manchester science industry is flourishing and this expansion is an indication of the state of the sector as a whole."