Peter Finnegan, Anita Finnegan and Dr Fergal McCaffery, Nova Leah
Co-founders of medical device cybersecurity company Nova Leah, from left: Peter Finnegan, Anita Finnegan (CEO) and Dr Fergal McCaffery. Image: Karl Hussey/Fennell Photography

Medical device security start-up Nova Leah to create 78 new jobs

7 Jun 2017

Dundalk start-up targets $51bn connected medical device market.

Nova Leah, a recent Start-up of the Week, is to create 78 new jobs as the importance of securing medical equipment reaches new heights following recent cyberattacks.

A spokesman for the company said that 50 of the new roles include engineering and support, and will be Dundalk-based. The remainder will be sales and marketing roles in Boston, where the company has just opened an office.

Founded by CEO Anita Finnegan, Nova Leah specialises in developing expert cybersecurity risk management systems specifically for medical devices.

Initial investors in the company include US venture capital company COSIMO Venture Partners and Enterprise Ireland.

“The recent WannaCry ransomware attack on the UK’s NHS highlights the importance of cybersecurity in the health sector,” Finnegan explained.

“Today’s medical devices incorporate high levels of software and are connected across networks, online or wirelessly,” she added.

Local research produces world-beating technology

Nova Leah’s cloud-based system SelectEvidence is the result of a five-year R&D programme at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

The system is designed to guide medical device manufacturers in the implemention of cybersecurity requirements and best practices over the lifetime of a device, in compliance with US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommendations for information security threats and risks during pre-market and post-market activities.

Nova Leah is initially targeting customers in the imaging and electro medical device sectors in the US, a market that is estimated to be worth $155bn. Connected devices account for approximately $51bn of this.

According to Finnegan, data breaches in the US market are estimated to be costing healthcare providers $5.6bn per annum.

“SelectEvidence ensures speedier market deployment for devices, reduced compliance costs and fewer market recalls due to data hacks, all of which boosts profitability of our target organisations,” explained Dr Fergal McCaffery, a non-executive director of Nova Leah based at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

“We believe that cybersecurity for medical devices will be a significant new market,” said Rob Frasca of COSIMO Venture Partners.

“A first of its kind, we are not aware of any other company worldwide that can provide medical device manufacturers with an automated solution to implement and maintain cybersecurity requirements across medical device product portfolios.”

Medical device security start-up Nova Leah to create 78 new jobs

Nova Leah founder and CEO Anita Finnegan. Image: Karl Hussey/Fennell Photography

One of Nova Leah’s first customers is an Ireland-based device manufacturer, Orreco, which makes biomarker technology for elite and professional athletes.

“Using SelectEvidence, we were able to design our software platform to global security standards, thus strengthening our confidence in the features designed to optimise security, safety and protection of data,” said Orreco COO Fiona Slevin.

The company is a prime example of tech transfer in action, said Dr Joe Healy, divisional manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-up Division.

“Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Dr Anita Finnegan over the past five years and seen first-hand how the college-based research, and then the start-up company Nova Leah, has gone from strength to strength. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with Nova Leah to continue to support their growth ambitions as they strengthen their customer base and grow internationally.”

John Kennedy
By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years. His interests include all things technological, music, movies, reading, history, gaming and losing the occasional game of poker.

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