Galway’s EnteraSense raises €3.5m to drive biosensor breakthrough

7 Jan 2019

From left: Chiara Di Carlo, programme manager; Donal Devery, founder; and Daragh Sharkey, managing director, EnteraSense. Image: Xposure

EnteraSense is working on ingestible biosensor technology that is on the verge of commercialisation.

Galway-based medtech player EnteraSense has secured €3.5m in funding through Horizon 2020 and private investment. It raised €2.5m through EU funding while it separately raised €1m from investors.

The company plans to triple its workforce over the coming months, and its partner companies are also committed to hiring.

EnteraSense is developing ingestible biosensor capsules that detect bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract without requiring complicated intervention, thus reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes.

The combined €3.5m will be used to help commercialise EnteraSense’s technology, build the team to nine members and further the field of diagnostics.

Leading edge and bleeding edge

EnteraSense was founded by serial entrepreneur and CEO Donal Devery, who, along with EnteraSense MD Daragh Sharkey and programme manager Chiara Di Carlo, has licensed the groundbreaking technology from Harvard University.

The NDRC-backed company has successfully run initial trials to prove and validate the capsule. EnteraSense will move towards ‘First in Human’ studies by Q3 2019, and hopes to be commercial with FDA and CE approval by mid-2020.

The two-year, H2020 EIC-FTI project grant – with an overall value of €3.55m – is spread across four parties, with EnteraSense leading the research. Anecto (also based in Galway), SteriPack (Poland) and a hospital in the Czech Republic are the other members, and will add significant expertise and value to the overall project aim of launching the product for patient use by mid-2020.

EnteraSense’s current investor base includes physicians from the US, a private equity fund based in Ireland, a Dubai-based strategic investor and local Galway businesspeople.

“We want to improve patient outcomes and drive cost down for the health system,” Devery explained. “Each process and function within the deliverables associated with the grant will help us achieve this goal.

“The fact that physicians are among our investors shows just how exciting EnteraSense’s product is. The EU’s backing only underlines that.”

Sharkey added: “The most important aspect of this grant is that the European Union has independently validated our project. EnteraSense ranked fourth out of more than 200 entries, and this shows the potential and value of the project.”

Dublin start-up accelerator NDRC invested in EnteraSense in 2016, enabling the company to validate its project and leverage the reputation of the accelerator to attract further investment.

“EnteraSense’s diagnostic tool has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment of patients worldwide, while also driving down healthcare costs and speeding up diagnostic processes, thereby being a win on every front – patient experience, healthcare delivery and cost,” said NDRC CEO Ben Hurley.

“When NDRC invested in EnteraSense in 2016, we were attracted by a combination of a very talented team and an exciting product. Now, with the company securing substantial capital to support their solution, Donal and his colleagues are well positioned to continue on their upward trajectory.”

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