Cancer treatment tech start-up crowned overall Invent 2021 winner

1 Oct 2021

Bank of Ireland’s Niall Devlin, StimOxyGen’s Sian Farrell, and Catalyst’s Steve Orr. Image: Brian Morrison

StimOxyGen impressed at this year’s Invent awards, which recognise new innovations in Northern Ireland.

A cancer treatment technology start-up has been crowned the overall winner at the 2021 Invent awards. The awards are run annually by not-for-profit organisation Catalyst as a way of celebrating early-stage businesses and new innovations in Northern Ireland.

StimOxyGen bagged £26,000 in prize funding at the awards ceremony, which saw 10 finalists compete at a showcase event in the ICC Belfast.

The start-up aims to enhance the effects of cancer treatment by overcoming the problem of hypoxia in solid tumours. It uses oxygen-generating nanoparticles to generate transient oxygen within solid tumours, and the start-up says this has the potential to improve the efficacy of many cancer treatments for patients.

Sian Farrell, co-founder and chief scientific officer of StimOxyGen, said she was delighted to have her company’s potential recognised by Invent after six years of research and development.

“Our team is passionate about changing the outcomes for cancer patients and delivering higher standards of care worldwide,” she added.

“Our ultimate ambition is to revolutionise cancer treatment and improve outcomes for patients on a global basis and winning Invent will help us take the next step towards achieving that goal.”

‘Innovation in the DNA’

There were several other winners on the night. Excavator Forklift took top prize in the Product category, Anneal won in the Business Software category, Stable Manager came top in the Consumer Software category, and Tankcube was winner in the Greentech category.

StimOxyGen also won in the Health and Wellbeing category, in addition to taking home the overall prize.

Gabrielle Feenan from Ulster University was named the Student Invent winner for her cork-based furniture business Korkki.

Kerry McGarvey, programme manager at Invent, congratulated all the winners and finalists who took part. She added that it “was fantastic to feel the energy from NI’s innovation community coming together again”, after last year’s event went virtual.

“The finalists are all companies that are trying to solve real-world problems and the variety of different ideas that were covered in this year’s competition has shown, if proof were needed, that innovation continues to be in the DNA of people here in Northern Ireland, which bodes well for the future of our economy,” McGarvey added.

The event was organised with headline partner Bank of Ireland UK. Niall Devlin, its head of business banking for Northern Ireland, said: “Sian and StimOxyGen demonstrated commitment, passion and belief towards realising their ambition in bringing their life-changing cancer treatment technology to market.

“They are a prime example of why Northern Ireland is a leading worldwide location for innovation and life and health sciences businesses.”

Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic