€10m invested in biotech in 2006

15 Jan 2007

Enterprise Ireland said today that it had invested over €10m in 2006 to support initiatives that will help to strategically commercialise biotechnology research in Ireland.

This brings the State agency’s investment in this area to over €40m since 2001.

Over the past five years the agency says it has invested €120m overall in applied research commercialisation in the areas of IT, informatics and biotechnology.

It is understood that 250 principal investigators are linked into Enterprise Ireland’s various commercialisation schemes, involving some 25 research institutes.

In 2006, Enterprise Ireland’s biotechnology group invested €5.5m in 14 new biotechnology research projects that range from the development of nano sensors for diagnosing cardiovascular disease to technology for the treatment of tumours in cancer patients.

With the support of Enterprise Ireland, nine technologies from Irish research institutes were licensed in the biotechnology area and three new high-potential biotechnology companies emerged.

Stokes Bio from the University of Limerick primarily develops novel technology and biomarkers for the diagnosis of cancer.

Neuro Research Services from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is a contract research organisation that allows its clients to access the expertise of world-renowned scientists at the forefront of research in neuroscience.

Berand from University College Dublin focuses on the evaluation of promising drugs directed against neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

“The commercialisation of applied research is a central component in Ireland’s drive to becoming a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy,” explained Dr Paul Roben, director of biotechnology commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland.

“Companies in Ireland need to access the innovative capacity of the research sector in order to enhance their competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

“Enterprise Ireland is meeting that challenge through innovative funding and support programs aimed at commercialising research and supporting industry-academic linkages,” Dr Roben said.

By John Kennedy