Cortechs secures €1.3m funding to commercialise its ADHD treatment

22 Oct 2018

Cortechs founder Dr Áine Behan. Image: NDRC

Cortechs is one of the innovative Irish tech companies punching above their weight when it comes to securing EU Horizon 2020 funding.

NDRC-based start-up Cortechs has raised €1.3m in EU Horizon 2020 funding to help commercialise its innovative Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) treatment solution, CereBrill.

CereBrill is a novel treatment for ADHD whereby children learn to improve their attention levels through reward-based computer games.

Cortechs, a previous Start-up of the Week founded by Dr Áine Behan, was part of just 3pc of applicant companies securing funding under Horizon 2020 in 2018. Cortechs is the leading commercial partner in a Horizon 2020 project called Focus Locus where active pilots of its ADHD gaming technology (created with Greek academic and Spanish clinical and commercial partners) have been underway within Sant Joan de Déu Barcelona Children’s Hospital since September 2018.

‘Digital solutions for behavioural difficulties in conditions like this hold huge power to reduce behavioural interventions, reduce clinical visits and free up clinician schedules’

The brain game

Cortechs creates data-driven, therapeutic games that use cognitive training to improve attention deficit, and brainwaves can be remotely assessed by specialist clinicians to prescribe game tasks via secure web dashboards to parents and children.

The company is in the process of raising a further €500,000 to ramp up operations and deliver CereBrill solutions throughout Europe and North America.

The €1.3m Horizon 2020 funding is the third time Cortechs has secured funds from the European Commission for its ADHD solutions. Behan is planning to use the money and further private investment to expand the company’s team in Dublin, Galway and Cork.

“We are delighted to have secured significant funding like this, given how competitive the call is and how few European companies are successful in this SME Instrument,” Behan said.

“This means we can fill highly skilled positions in our Dublin and Galway company bases straight away. Getting products like CereBrill to market could have a hugely positive societal impact and significantly cut treatment costs in children with ADHD. Digital solutions for behavioural difficulties in conditions like this hold huge power to reduce behavioural interventions, reduce clinical visits and free up clinician schedules.”

The €1.3m in funding is part of the European Innovation Council pilot that supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with funding opportunities and business acceleration services.

Current investors in Cortechs include Aviva and Holtzbrinck Publishers (Founders Factory UK), NDRC, StartPlanet and Enterprise Ireland.

“With the support of Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s success rate in winning Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding continues to be strong and is currently at 11pc, whereas the EU average is 5pc,” said Sean Burke, Horizon 2020 national contact point with Enterprise Ireland.

“We work closely with innovative Irish SMEs to help them develop their solutions and capabilities to give them the best possible chance of tapping into this important source of funding to further their innovation activities, build scale and achieve their global ambition. Congratulations to Cortechs on this prestigious win and we look forward to working with the company in the future.”

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