HeiQ Viroblock wins prestigious Swiss Technology Award 2020


HeiQ Viroblock has earnt the coveted Swiss Technology Award 2020. Developed in record time and launched after the Swiss authorities announced the lockdown in March 2020, HeiQ Viroblock has had a major impact on the global textile industry and is being unprecedently adopted by mills around the world.

Figure: HeiQ Co-Founder and CEO Carlo Centonze and his daughter Anna. Courtesy: HeiQ

HeiQ Viroblock is seen as one of the world’s most efficient and effective antiviral/antimicrobial technologies and has been applied by more than 150 brands worldwide and to over 1 billion products from face masks and apparel, to home textiles, mattresses and curtains.

A spokesperson for HeiQ said, “The leading technology prize in Switzerland, Swiss Technology Award, yesterday announced the 2020 prizes, and among all the notable finalist innovations of the year, HeiQ has bestowed the highest honor as First Prize Winner for its breakthrough antiviral textile technology HeiQ Viroblock.”

HeiQ added, “This is the most notable recognition for the young company’s innovative spirit and technologies as well as its contribution to stemming the spread of the global pandemic.”

Exceptional innovation

What exemplifies HeiQ Viroblock is its ability to turn any fabric antiviral and it was among the first textile technologies in the world to be proven effective against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). HeiQ Viroblock consists of a combination of HeiQ’s patent-pending vesicle and silver technologies.

The two mechanisms of attack result in an over 99.9% destruction of viruses in 5 minutes, which HeiQ says is unrivaled in the industry. HeiQ Viroblock is a unique patent-pending formulation of 72% bio-based ingredients, made with 100% cosmetic-grade materials from the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients list.

HeiQ Viroblock is also a shining example of Swiss cooperation between academics and industry. The silver technology was developed at ETHZ (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich), the vesicle technology at EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), and the production was scaled up at FHNW (Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz).

Unmatched swiftness from laboratory to consumer

With an unprecedented speed of a mere two months as compared to the average launch time of 12-18 months, HeiQ launched the new antiviral textile technology HeiQ Viroblock on March 16, 2020 – two hours after Switzerland declared a state of emergency.

This was made possible with the indispensable support of Swiss research Partner FHNW and the EPFL which helped accelerate product validation.

The fast scale-up of production was enabled by the FHNW School of Life Sciences with their new Process Technology Center (PTC) by special permit. With its agile operations and global footprint, HeiQ also brought HeiQ Viroblock to face masks and other PPE (personal protection equipment) to different corners of the world where solutions are needed. Now, Swiss consumers can also acquire HeiQ Viroblock enhanced face masks online.

Reacting to the news of HeiQ Viroblock winning this year’s Swiss Tech Award, Co-founder and CEO Carlo Centonze, commented, “I am both amazed and honored that HeiQ has won this award a second time in just ten years, and from among some incredible tech innovation finalists. It confirms our resolve to push the boundaries and push innovations to help the world with its most pressing and imminent problems.”

“This award is recognition for our company and team that have spared no efforts to develop and launch HeiQ Viroblock at such speed and make a valuable contribution to the global pandemic efforts. We remain true to our mission: enhancing the everyday lives of people with smart and efficient textile effects.”

Founded in 2005 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), HeiQ is a leader in textile innovation creating some of the most effective, durable and high-performance textile technologies on the market today.

HeiQ’s mission is to improve the lives of billions of people by perfecting an everyday product: Textiles. Combining three areas of expertise – scientific research, specialty materials manufacturing and consumer ingredient branding – HeiQ claims to be the ideal innovation partner to create differentiating and sustainable textile products and capture the added value at the point of sale.

With a total capacity of 35,000 tons per year, HeiQ manufactures in the USA, Switzerland and Australia supplying its specialty chemical products in over 60 countries worldwide.