Kerriann Greenhalgh was studying at the University of South Florida when an idea struck her for a product that could plug a gap in the market.
That idea has since gone from concept to creation with the launch of Greenhalgh’s own company, KeriCure Inc.
The company uses a water-based polymer technology that was developed by University of South Florida scientists in 2003.
Greenhalgh’s product provides a sting-free, preservative-free, waterproof liquid bandage that blocks bacteria and fungi from invading minor cuts, scrapes and burns.
The woman-owned company has developed KeriCure Skin Protectant, KeriCure Natural Seal Skin Protectant and is in the process of developing KeriCure Advanced – Rx for Medical Use.
The skin protectant is a spray designed for people who are on the go. It is being sold at more than 200 Kroger grocery stores and is scheduled in September to hit the shelves at 616 Publix stores in Florida, and 239 more in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama.
“Seeing it in Publix is going to be so fun,” said Greenhalgh, who grew up in New Tampa and graduated from Wharton High School before obtaining her bachelor’s degree and doctorate from USF.
Long before her wound care spray hit the shelves, Greenhalgh, who is chair and chief executive officer of her company, was busy raising funds, networking and learning what she needed to manufacture her product and get it to market.
It took research to find six companies that could manufacture the packaging and the product.
“I personally financed the whole operation for a year and a half,” said Greenhalgh, who taught chemistry at USF.
She came up with the idea for her product when she was a student.
“I was working with this technology and I noticed that the polymer that we were working with formed a film,” Greenhalgh said. “It’s really elastic and it stretched and moved and would go back to the normal shape. I looked at this, and I said, ‘You know, this would make a really cool second skin, like a liquid bandage.’”
Greenhalgh began using the product herself all the way through graduate school. “I always had it at my house for my pets, for myself, for my husband. I just always kept using it,” she said.
Greenhalgh didn’t pursue her idea right away, but she knew there was a need for it and she knew it worked, she said.
“I didn’t realize how well it worked until people started using it,” she said. Since it has been available, people have told her that they’ve used it as an after-care product for tattoos. Some have used it for psoriasis and others for acne, she said.
And since it’s waterproof, it’s good for those who want to be in the water, or who might be working up a sweat, Greenhalgh said.
She’s interested in seeking out other markets in the United States, including Winn-Dixie, CVS and Walgreens, as well as branching out to Central and South America.
Although initial marketing efforts are going well and the company now has four full-time and one part-time employee, Greenhalgh isn’t trying to build a huge company.
“We don’t want to be a powerhouse,” said the scientist, who lives with her husband, Daniel Opp and nine-month-old son, Nolan Opp, near Quail Hollow. “I don’t want to be running a nationwide company and selling product. It’s hard, dealing with the retail side of things. There are nuances to it. There are loopholes and pitfalls.”
Instead, she would like to get a lab facility and do what she does best: research and development.
“We have a lot of medical product ideas that are in the pipeline,” Greenhalgh said.
Being successful with this product is the first step, though, she said.
“We’ve got this up and running. We’ve got to get it going,” she said. “That way we can find people that are interested in licensing the products from us.
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