Battelle, Viking Global spin off startup that destroys 'forever' pollutant PFAS

Photo: Revive Environmental logo

Battelle has spun out a startup whose PFAS Annihilator system breaks down the so-called "forever" pollutant that's ubiquitous in drinking water, food, even household dust – and detectable in most humans' blood.

Revive Environmental Technology LLC already has a long waitlist of customers and could generate tens of millions in revenue this year, CEO David Trueba said. He was recruited to lead the startup from Pittsburgh-based Evoqua Water Technologies Corp. (NYSE: AQUA).

"This is an area where I've got a personal passion, since my first job as a chemist," Trueba said in an interview.

"To be able to empower cities and communities to eliminate this (PFAS) problem – it's huge," he said. "We get to build a company from the ground up. We're going to be scaling across North America (over) the next two years."

Viking Global Investors, a Connecticut firm that focuses on healthcare and  environmental technology, invested an undisclosed amount of cash in the joint venture with Battelle. The ownership breakdown also was not disclosed.

The startup expects to grow to about 20 jobs this year, mostly in Columbus, and each system creates five jobs where it's deployed.

The Columbus nonprofit research organization transferred the intellectual property to the startup and provides office and manufacturing space in Columbus; Revive also can contract with Battelle scientists an engineers at reduced rates for specific projects.

Viking also was one of two investors in Battelle's $200 million spinout of biotech research organization AmplifyBio LLC. The firm declined to comment. Unlike that deal, Battelle is not spinning out staff with Revive.

A partner such as Viking can get a product to market quickly at large scale once Battelle develops a technology to a form that can be commercialized, said Matt Vaughan, executive vice president of Battelle’s Applied Science & Technology group.

"Battelle would prefer to put its capital into the community in the form of its philanthropy," Vaughan said. "As part owner in the company, we would expect to have great return to Battelle, which of course allows us to fulfill our mission in the community."

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