CF Pharma Ireland Ltd: This week’s Hero Business of the Irish Business Design Challenge

CF Pharma Ireland Ltd: This week’s Hero Business of the Irish Business Design Challenge

The Irish Business Design Challenge is a competition that recognises the resilience and innovation of Irish businesses that have adapted their business model and created solutions to overcome challenges presented by Covid-19. 

Each week in October, the judging panel is nominating ‘hero business’ as part of the challenge. This week’s ‘hero business’ is CF Pharma Ireland Ltd, based in Kilkenny

Before the onset of Covid-19 in early in 2020, hand sanitiser was one of those things a few people threw into their bag or pocket when they were travelling so that they could clean their hands when access to hand washing facilities wasn’t always available.  Now it’s in regular use in every school, shop, office and public building in the country.

CF Pharma in Kilkenny manufactures and sells medical devices and topical healthcare products and immediately identified a need for a multi-use product that would be safe for use in a variety of settings.  They developed CleanRite, which has been approved by the Department of Agriculture as a skin, surface and contact food safe sanitiser and has also recently been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for use against SARS Covid-2

Managing Director Clare Hughes established CF Pharma in 2014.  For her, ensuring the product the company brought to market was safe and effective was a primary consideration.  

“Prior to Covid-19, CF Pharma manufactured and distributed a range of biocide and medical device products for hospital and pharmacy setting using  hypochlorous acid as an antibacterial irrigation solution and we have a comprehensive portfolio of safety and clinical data testing to back all of our claims.  The key benefits are, unlike alcohol-based products, hypochlorous acid isn’t a skin irritant, it is pH neutral and has no known interactions or side effects,” says Hughes

Other products the company makes include a wound wash and irrigation solution for use in clinical settings and an antibacterial cleanser for people with reduced mobility or who are susceptible to pressure sores.  It also manufactures a specialised cleansing product for those whose skin has increased sensitivity due to radiation and laser therapy.

Clare Hughes says:  "When we developed CleanRite, we knew that it was the perfect product for use in schools.  There are concerns about alcohol-based products being used by children in terms of skin sensitivity, potential for abuse and flammability.  We tendered for and were successful in securing a place on the Department of Education PPE roll out for all schools.  We successfully fulfilled 10% of the school market on the initial round of orders and are continuing to grow these numbers daily as awareness continues to spread.”  

As a result of developing CleanRite, CT Pharma is predicting 60% sales growth on 2019 figures.  They have hired 10 additional staff and have been granted permission by Kilkenny County Council to expand their premises by more than 1600 square meters beside their current facility in Hebron Industrial Estate.

Clare Hughes says:  “Our CleanRite product has allowed many schools and businesses to reopen safely.  Our ability to identify the need for a safe, multi-use product and get it to market quickly has safeguarded jobs in Kilkenny and we’re very proud of our workforce for their ability to adapt to change.”  

The Irish Business Design Challenge is an initiative of the Design and Crafts Council Ireland and is supported by the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland.  Entries close on October 28 2020.  For further details or to register, go to 

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