Belfast’s Causeway Sensors raises £1.5m to help bring its biotech to market

15 Mar 2022

From left: Kernel Capital partner Denise Sidhu, Causeway Sensors CEO Dr Antony Murphy, Causeway Sensors co-founder Dr Bob Pollard, QUBIS head of spin-outs and investments David Moore. Image: Causeway Sensors

The Queen’s University Belfast spin-out is developing a Nano Sensor Platform that can provide real-time data in bioreactors.

Causeway Sensors has raised more than £1.5m in investment to speed up the “path to commercialisation” for its nanotechnology.

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund provided £1.3m in funding, while a further £250,000 was provided by QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University Belfast.

Causeway Sensors uses patented nanotechnology to enable pathogen detection, opening pathways to detect fatal diseases in the healthcare sector. The Queen’s University spin-out is developing a Nano Sensor Platform that can be integrated into a bioreactor to give key data in real time.

The company said pharma firms need to screen millions of candidates and potential leads to create new biological drugs, and current instruments can only capture critical data after “protracted incubation periods”, which increases time and risk.

Causeway Sensors hopes its Nano Sensor Platform will reduce risk, improve decision-making and speed up the process of bringing new drugs to market.

“There is an unmet need for instrumentation that can provide high-value data in real time, online, throughout the drug development process, we believe Causeway Sensors can deliver on that need,” said Kernel Capital managing partner Niall Olden.

Following the investment, Causeway Sensors is restructuring its board and executive team. The company’s co-founder, Dr Bob Pollard, is taking the role of executive president, while Deirdre Francis – formerly of Intelesens – has been appointed to the newly created finance director role.

Dr Antony Murphy, who has been promoted to the role of CEO, said the latest investment is the “final stepping stone on the path to commercialisation” of Causeway’s technology.

“This investment, along with the competitive grant funding we were awarded from UKRI, will put Causeway in a strong position to fully validate our first product with blue-chip pharmaceutical companies before entering the bioproduction market,” Murphy said.

Causeway Sensors has been previously backed by both Kernel Capital and QUBIS.

The company is also part of the Northern Ireland technology consortium Smart Nano NI, which received £42.4m in funding last year to develop nanotechnology related to medical devices, communication and data storage. Causeway Sensors confirmed that it received £3.3m in grant support earlier this year from UK Research and Innovation as part of this consortium.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic