Speaker interview: Dr. Ivan Ong, Microban International

Ahead of this year's Compounding World Expo in Cleveland, we spoke to Dr. Ivan Ong, Vice President of Research & Development at Microban International.

In his current role, Dr. Ivan Ong's responsibilities include overseeing Microban’s Innovations, Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry Test Labs, as well as the organization's regulatory departments. 


What are the biggest challenges facing the market today and how can this be overcome?

Current market challenges are opportunities for innovations to address needs. The current global trends where innovative solutions can bring value are in sustainability, such as the paradigm shift from the use of plastic products created from virgin resins to ones with recycled content, or products that are biodegradable. There is also a shift from one-time use products to products designed for long term service with repairability in mind. This presents opportunities to address microbial presence, contamination, and malodour development in products. Unchecked microbial contamination and persistent bad odors can lead to premature disposal of products, which can negatively impact sustainability initiatives.  


In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last decade?

In the antimicrobials industry, I see continuous smart innovation in developing safer, non-toxic, greener chemistries to achieve materials protection. At Microban, I’m very proud of our development of a new range of disinfectants that offer continuous protection of surfaces up to 24 hours after application. These products have been successfully commercialized through our partners, P&G in the consumer and commercial space and PDI in the healthcare space.


How do you see the sector developing in the next five to ten years?

Many issues still need to be effectively addressed. While the current coronavirus is more effectively transmitted via microdroplets person to person instead of surfaces, there are viruses that can be transmitted off contaminated surfaces. Throughout this epidemic, antibiotic resistant microbes are still a pressing concern in critical health care environments.  


You will be speaking at AMI’s plastics industry expos in Cleveland in November, could you give us a preview on what you will be talking about?

I will be discussing how built-in antimicrobial protection of materials can positively contribute to sustainability needs in polymer products.

Hear from Dr. Ivan Ong at Compounding World Expo North America.