Medical startup wins all-island competition


7 Dec 2005

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UPDATE: Sigmoid Biotechnologies, a Dublin-based company specialising in medical technology, has won InterTradeIreland’s seedcorn competition for startups. The all-island award, now in its third year, has a €100k prize for the winner.

The competition result was announced at a networking event in Dublin last night. Sigmoid was the overall winner, chosen from a field of eight finalists from around the island of Ireland. The programme is organised by EquityNetwork, part of InterTradeIreland, a cross-border organisation that aims to promote and develop collaboration among Irish companies that will help them to become more competitive internationally.

Sigmoid is developing a method, called Liquid/Emulsion Drug Delivery System, that delivers drug treatments to specific locations within the digestive tract. With it, the company hopes to capture a niche market share within the drug delivery industry that is estimated to be worth US$50bn.

Dr Ivan Coulter, managing director and co-founder of Sigmoid, said he was “delighted” with the win. “The whole process has really helped us focus our business plan properly to go after equity funding and the €100k will be a huge benefit to accelerate our development,” he said.

The seedcorn competition was open to individuals or groups of individuals based on the island of Ireland involved in a new venture seeking early stage and startup funding. To qualify for selection, the companies could not have already raised private equity in excess of €1m and must have been in existence for three years or less by 30 September of this year. The competition had a total prize fund of €230k.

According to InterTradeIreland, there were more than 400 expressions of interest and 118 business plans submitted for this year’s competition. From that, 18 companies were shortlisted and eight regional winners selected. These were Idiro Technologies and Sigmoid Biotechnologies in Dublin; Risaris from Leinster; Zerusa (Connacht); TreeMetrics Cork; BioAtlantis of Munster; Belfast-based Mail Distiller and Northern Ireland firm Nvolve.

Previous winners of the competition were Smart Homes (2004) and Luxcel Biosciences (2003), both of which have gone on to raise further capital for their businesses.

Commenting on the award, Aidan Gough, director of strategy and policy with InterTradeIreland, said: “The judges were deeply impressed with the technology, the potential for global scalability and the management capability driving the Sigmoid Biotechnologies business plan. The early stage funding and the process of being involved in the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition will help Sigmoid Biotechnologies Ltd take a significant step forward towards realising their business objectives.”

By Gordon Smith