University of Minnesota spinoff Claros Technologies is ramping up quickly, moving quickly toward production agreements with customers, its CEO said.

The company — which develops "green chemistry" solutions to neutralize viruses, mercury and other industrial-born pollution — said Tuesday it has raised $5.35 million in inaugural venture-capital funding.

The round was led by Portland-based 3x5 Partners and included the U's Discovery Capital. The firm also raised $1.5 million earlier this year from individuals investors, including Claros board members Phil Soran and Jim Leslie, veteran local entrepreneurs.

"We're six months ahead of schedule," said CEO Michelle Bellanca, who added that Claros will begin generating significant revenue by early 2022. "We've blown through the milestones."

Ten-employee Claros moved in 2019 from Abbas' lab to a university-sponsored business incubator in St. Paul. Bellanca is a former 3M manager who invested, acquired and managed small-technology firms with bright growth prospects.

The company has been working on protective garments for food-processing plants and created the Log3Mask, developed under contract with the Department of Defense and the CDC.

Claros is described as an outfit that "solves environmental problems without creating new ones" by its co-founder, Abdennour Abbas, the chief technology officer of several-year-old Claros and a University of Minnesota researcher.

Since 2011, 3X5 founders Tony Arnerich and Nicholas Walrod have invested more than $350 million in 15 life science and natural resource companies that "reduce and evolve the consumption of the planet's limited resources, including energy, food, waste and water."

The Series A capital raise will allow the Claros team to commercialize products that neutralize harmful pollution and disease with filtration products and functional textiles for medical garb, uniforms and linens that combat viruses.

Using its proprietary technology, Claros ''grows and tailors tiny nanoparticles to any functionality, whether plastic or ceramics or textiles," Bellanca said in a March column. "The disruption comes from growing the nanoparticles within the product."

The materials repel or capture and detoxify contaminants like mercury, phosphorus and other heavy metals, permitting recovery of valuable nutrients and precious metals. The uses include water treatment, watershed management and air pollution control.

Claros said one of its products would address "polyfluoroalkyl substances," or PFAS, remediation. Known as "forever chemicals," they do not naturally degrade. The ''Clarosorb" sorbent would capture and detoxify PFAS in water.

Abbas, a native of Algeria who also studied in France, earned graduate degrees in materials science, engineering, chemistry and biological systems.

He developed the first Claros product, dubbed the "mercury sponge," in his lab in 2017.

Mercury is a toxic element and industrial pollutant released into water and air.

"This funding will allow us to bring solutions to the public and our customers and actually help make the environment cleaner and improve peoples lives," Abbas said. "With PFAS forever chemicals, we are not only removing it from the environment, but also detoxifying it permanently. We do not push the problem somewhere else. Claros is redefining how the environment can be cleaned and close the loop of water pollution."