Belfast hospital spin-out Hibergene raises €2m to quickly detect diseases

2 Feb 2015

Belfast med-tech start-up HiberGene, which is developing technologies to rapidly diagnose infectious diseases, has raised €2m in investment.

A spin-out from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, HiberGene is developing a range of molecular diagnostics tests which will enable the rapid diagnosis of multiple infectious diseases.

The syndicated investment comprises of a €500,000 investment by Kernal Capital via the Bank of Ireland MedTech Accelerator Fund with the remainder of funds provided by Enterprise Ireland and private investors.

Hibergene  will use this round of funding to support the commercialisation of its first two molecular tests for Meningococcal Meningitis and Group B Streptococcus (GBS).

Meningitis currently affects 1.2 million people each year, with one in ten of these cases resulting in fatality and is typically diagnosed through lengthy culture testing and PCR testing methods.

Positive results within 10 minutes

(From left): Dawn Walsh, marketing executive, Kernel Capital; Brendan Farrell, CEO, HiberGene Diagnostics; Kevin Healy, manager, corporate banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland; and Margot Marsden, senior development adviser, Enterprise Ireland

HiberGene’s diagnostic tests developed utilising the LAMP (Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification) enabling technology will enable the diagnosis of patients in near-patient settings such as clinical laboratories, emergency rooms and delivery wards producing positive results within ten minutes. 

“We are now ready to fully commercialise our first two products and to commence development of LAMP-based tests for other infectious diseases,” said Brendan Farrell, CEO of HiberGene Diagnostics.

“Both the meningitis and Group B Streptococcus products meet a currently unmet clinical need for rapid and accurate testing,” Farrell added.

Disease image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years