Baltimore County life sciences firm
. is tapping into the Latin American market this year.
The Hunt Valley company will launch in Mexico by mid-2013, followed by a rollout in other countries, including Costa Rica and Chile. It made its first international foray last year with a launch in Canada.
Sterilex manufactures proprietary and microbiological agents to solve contanimation problems, says Alex Josowitz, director of business development. Put in layman’s terms, the company makes different substances that kill organisms that form a protective biofilm, such as plaque on the teeth or pink streaks in grout.
“Once the biofilm is formed, it’s difficult to get to the organisms. It becomes an issue in health care and industrial applications,” says Josowitz, whose company makes several different agents, liquid and powder, for different customers.
Most of Sterilex customers are food and beverage manufacturers, including meat, poultry, dairy, wineries and breweries. It also has clients in the dental industry as it has an agent to disinfect dental water lines where biofilm tends to build up.
To make the agents, Sterilex has several manufacturing plants across the country, including one in Baltimore City. The company sells mainly through distributors. Josowitz estimates that over 5,000 companies use its products but almost all are sold through full-service chemical distributors.
Josowitz says the entry into international markets came at the request of its American distributors, many of whom have international operations. “They asked if we had the ability to sell abroad. We felt it would help our business here,” he says.
To do so, the company obtained an export grant from the state, met federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations and fulfilled the application process in each of the foreign countries. There were patent and trademark issues.
“It was convoluted and costly, and can take over 12 months to get approvals,” says Josowitz.
Sterilex was founded in 1995. It shares an office with its sister company, Global EPI Research. The privately held company pulls in about $10 million in annual sales, which are growing about 30 percent a year.
The woman-owned business has a staff of 11. It is not currently hiring but Josowitz says there’s a “good chance” it will do so in the future.
Source: Alex Josowitz, Sterilex Corp.
Writer: Barbara Pash