UCD life sciences firm doubles jobs on R&D deals

6 Dec 2006

Significant R&D deals with major pharmaceutical companies that are targeting a US$200bn market has resulted in NovaUCD-based life sciences and technology firm Celtic Catalysts laying plans to double its workforce to 20 in the next 12 months.

Celtic Catalysts, a life sciences discovery and process optimisation company, focuses on providing innovative chiral products to the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industry.

The company is commercialising chiral technology that has been developed over the past five years at UCD’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Around 75pc of all drugs in the pharmaceutical R&D pipeline are chiral compounds. On a molecular level, the drugs can exist in mirror image forms, just as one’s left hand is an image of the right hand. This market alone is estimated to be worth US$200bn.

“Having developed and protected a unique portfolio of intellectual property we are now at the very exciting stage of launching new products based on this intellectual property,” said Celtic Catalysts’ CEO, Brian Elliott.

“We look forward to continuing these development programmes and working with the fine chemicals and pharma industries to further commercialise the fruits of our research into a growing market,” Elliot said.

Celtic Catalysts was founded in 2004 by Dr Declan Gilheany and Dr Brian Kelly. The company’s advisory board is chaired by Nobel Prize winner, K Barry Sharpless.

It is understood that the company is currently seeking to acquire 3,000sq ft to 5,000sq ft of lab space either in UCD or elsewhere in Ireland.

By John Kennedy