Xenex founders Mark(Tuck) Stibich and Julie Stachowiak met at Johns Hopkins University during their doctoral studies. Both epidemiologists, they had a shared passion for research and wanting to make the world a better place. As their careers evolved, they began to study novel approaches to saving lives and reducing suffering by destroying the deadly microorganisms that cause infections. They wanted to provide healthcare facilities with a more effective tool to kill pathogens, and they wanted to ensure that scientific evidence drove all of the company’s claims. In 2008, Tuck and Julie co-founded Xenex and their passion became our mission.
When Xenex launched the first version of the LightStrike pulsed xenon UV robot, it was the first and only ultraviolet light technology of its kind. It provided a faster, effective alternative to all the other UV light products hospitals had to choose from, and the fact it did not use mercury bulbs to generate UV light was a game changer for healthcare environments. All of those mercury products produce one wavelength (253.7 nm) of UV light while LightStrike produces multiple wavelengths (200 nm – 315 nm) of UV light, resulting in more efficient pathogen deactivation. Research proved LightStrike’s innovative technology took a fraction of the time its predecessor (mercury UV bulbs) took to deactivate troublesome spores like C. diff 1,2. A study conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center showed that LightStrike destroyed 22 times more pathogens than liquid chemical cleaning alone.
And as you’ve likely seen, many UV products came to market during the pandemic with the majority using mercury lamps, making product claims that are not supported by scientific evidence. A mercury lamp is going to disinfect one wavelength (253.7) – no matter the frame it is construction on or the 4 wheels it rolls on.
Today, LightStrike robots have been widely adopted with over 1,000 hospitals having integrated the patented technology as part of their comprehensive disinfection strategy and more than 45 peer-reviewed studies have been published validating the efficacy of LightStrike technology. Xenex launched the 6th model of LightStrike in December 2020 – continually seeking feedback from customers to create efficiencies and ease of use. LightStrike6, the current model, is faster, smarter, and sturdier than earlier versions.
But a successful microbial reduction program requires more than technology – it needs people to run the robots and determine the protocols for where and when the robots should be operated. Xenex’s Xtra Care program offers a suite of options that provide customers with support and training tools. For Xenex, making an investment in this aspect of our business was equally as important as our product offering. The pandemic forced the healthcare industry to make a lot of changes. Understanding the challenges of training and onboarding new employees, Xenex developed and launched a plethora of training tools and resources that provide customers with benefits and support, many of them online.
Now, customers who participate in the Xtra Care program benefit from scheduled and/or virtual education sessions that are great for new users and those who have been running their program for years, robot operator training classes, ad hoc epidemiological discussions to assess pathogens of concern, monthly performance and compliance reports/meetings, and predictive maintenance – just to name a few.
The Xtra Care program makes it easier to train new employees or provide existing employees refresher courses on microbial reduction strategy best practices. And don’t worry, outside of our online tools – dedicated Account Executives and our Customer Success team are a phone call away. We understand that building a successful disinfection program involves a commitment from us to many departments within a hospital – and we’re here to help.
We are thankful that our founder, Tuck remains very engaged with Xenex, continuing the mission he and his late wife, Julie Stachowiak, began. Tuck continues to pursue his passion for research, is a thought leader who speaks frequently on Antimicrobial Resistance and other topics related to pathogen transmission that can lead to disease, and evaluates technologies that could change the future of microbial reduction in healthcare environments, leading to better outcomes.
1.Ghanotoji 2015, Kitagawa 2020., 2. Anderson DJ, et al. ICHE 2018:39