Life sciences entrepreneur scoops NovaUCD award

22 Jul 2009

Founder and CEO of two thriving life sciences companies – Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics – Nicola Mitchell, has been presented with the NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award.

Mitchell formed Life Scientific in 1995 following a business idea based on a unique configuration integrating product development with regulatory affairs to enable clients in the agrochemical industry get their products to market more quickly. The company has now evolved to the point where  end-to-end plant protection product development can be carried out from initial concept to commercialisation.

In 2006, Mitchell established BioScientific Diagnostics to provide expertise in the development, validation and utilisation of immuno and cell-based methods for the investigation of biopharmaceuticals and biomarkers.

Both companies operate from three facilities, including two certified laboratories in Blackrock and NovaUCD and an office in London. Collectively, Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics employ over 40 people, mainly scientists.

This year, annual turnover is expected to reach €4m, 95pc of which will be derived from export sales. The companies have made strategic links with key industrial players such as Amgen, Mitsui, FMC, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

Following Enterprise Ireland investment in its first in-house R&D programme, Life Scientific currently holds its own product licenses in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Ireland. Imidasect 5GR, its niche horticultural product, is the UK market leader. 

Along with re-investment of retained earnings, and with further support from Enterprise Ireland, Life Scientific is expanding its R&D portfolio and will have a further three products ready for the European market by the end of 2009.

Revenue from current business activities is forecast to reach €11m by 2013 – this excludes projected revenue from Life Scientific’s own products.

On presenting the NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award to Mitchell, Dr Hugh Brady, president, UCD, said: “The establishment, growth and development of companies such as Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics is at the heart of the UCD/TCD Innovation Alliance’s objective of developing a world-class ecosystem for innovation that drives enterprise development and the creation of sustainable high-value jobs.”

Dr Pat Frain, director, NovaUCD, added: “Mitchell is clearly one of our most successful life science entrepreneurs. From the start it was clear that she would be successful given her huge dedication and commitment to growing and developing her companies.

“She is an ideal role model and an inspiration for others who wish to establish and grow new knowledge-intensive enterprises.”

Mitchell’s ultimate vision is to develop patentable products by exploiting synergies between Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics.

Specifically, by leveraging the companies’ in-depth knowledge of plant protection products and expertise in biotechnology, she aims to create new standards for crop protection that will lead to a new generation of cleaner, greener agrochemicals.

By Carmel Doyle

Caption: Nicola Mitchell, founder and CEO of Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics, recipient of the NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic