Acid Deprived DiAldehyde FiXative 

Towards a Formalin Free Hospital

ADDAX Biosciences proposes a revolution in the fixative market by the introduction of GAF, an innovative reagent that will allow the optimal tissue fixation at structural and molecular level combined with the absence of toxicity and carcinogenic activity, at variance of the fixative in use. 

ADDAX Biosciences introduces into the market a histological fixative as alternative to Formalin, a toxic and canginogenic agent, based on an innovative glyoxal solution: Acid Deprived DiAldehyde FiXative (GAF). The results have been published in an international peer reviewed journal (Plos One 12:e0182965; 2017). 

The innovative ADDAX Glyoxal (GAF) is protected by an international patent. The annual usage of Formalin can be estimated in more than 1 million liters in Italy. The Total Addressable Market for GAF is around 20 million liters in the World.




  • Use of Formalin appears highly problematic. Indeed, the formaldehyde has been considered irritant and allergenic, as it may induce eczema and respiratory asthma for long time. However, over the past decade, the scientific community has highlighted that inhalation of the highly volatile formaldehyde may lead to cancer. In the European Union, its eradication from workplaces has been mandated, by EU n. 1907/2006 and 1272/2008, starting from August 2017.
  • The use of formaldehyde represents a serious social problem. Formalin is widely used in plastic, wood, and paper production facilities. Additionally, it is employed as a histological fixative in hospitals and private laboratories where, only in Italy, about one million liters per year are consumed. In the healthcare system, thousands of workers (e.g. nurses, technicians, doctors, pathologists) are thus exposed to formaldehyde. Therefore, the balance between the diagnostic and scientific interest (i.e. patient’s health) and the protection of workers is set on a risks reduction basis defined as the “As Low As Reasonably Achievable (Risk)” Principle. In Italy, as in other countries of the European Union, this also results in strict obligations to protect the health of workers which may be in contact with the formaldehyde. Therefore, it is required to implement every possible technical, organizational and procedural initiative to minimize the risk to the worker’s health (see, for example, the Guideline of the Lombardy Region on Estimation and Risk Management of Exposure to Formaldehyde, approved by Regional Decree No. 11665/16). Our project is aimed to fully resolve this social and scientific conundrum.
  • Our project proposes the replacement of formalin with ADDAX, a non-toxic nor cancerogenic product with equivalent histological efficacy, responding to the need to protect the health of workers involved and, at the same time, the health of patients. Furthermore, the project is aimed at protecting the environment by reducing the use and disposal of a toxic product. In fact, formaldehyde carcinogenic vapours absorbed by the hoods are partially released into air, while the disposal of liquid formalin is complex and expensive. It is desirable that the amount of toxic waste released in the environment, although somehow controlled, be strongly reduced.

The replacement of formalin with our ADDAX fixative will thus have a beneficial impact on healthcare of workers, patients as well as on the environment. We hope with ADDAX diffusion to go toward “Formalin-free” hospitals.