NUI Galway spin-out’s heart monitoring device named ‘One to Watch’

26 Nov 2020

Enterprise Ireland’s Stephen Creaner presents Eddie McDaid from Galenband with his awards. Image: Maxwell Photography

Galenband won over both the judges and the virtual audience at the Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas showcase, taking home two awards.

Each year, the Big Ideas showcase gives a dozen early-stage start-ups just three minutes to pitch an innovative idea to an audience of Ireland’s research and business communities.

This year, of course, that audience was tuning in remotely, but they were no less wowed by Galenband co-founder Eddie McDaid, who was a winner twice-over for his outstanding presentation.

Galenband was named One to Watch by a selected panel watching the Enterprise Ireland event and was also presented with the Viewers’ Choice Award.

About Galenband

Galenband has developed a system to dramatically increase detection rates of atrial fibrillation, or AFib, an irregular and sometimes rapid heartbeat.

AFib can increase the risk of stroke by up to five times, but research shows that many cases go undiagnosed. This incidence of ‘silent AFib’ leaves people unknowingly living with the risk of stroke.

The Galenband solution is an unobtrusive wrist-worn monitoring device that uses pulse oximetry to track the heart’s rhythm continuously for up to 90 days. This device is paired with the Galenband cloud platform, where results are analysed using artificial intelligence to identify irregularities.

The device was invented by co-founder Oisín McGrath, a biomedical engineer based at NUI Galway. McGrath, who himself suffers from intermittent AFib, was the lead researcher on the project when it was granted €500,000 from Enterprise Ireland.

McGrath partnered with McDaid, who now leads the team of medtech and software engineering experts. McDaid is an experienced entrepreneur specialising in the internet of things and digitalisation, and he has previously led the creation of multiple software platform businesses, achieving more than €50m in sales.

McDaid claims the Galenband system is so powerful that it can increase detection rates from 1.3pc with current standard monitoring methods up to as much as 85pc.

“Galenband is ideally positioned to play a leading role in this market transformation with unique IP, pending patent protection, and a disruptive business model which will deliver profitable growth,” he previously told Enterprise Ireland.

McDaid estimates a total addressable market of €765m for AFib monitoring in the US and Europe, with a compound annual growth rate of 15.6cpc to 2026.

Supported by the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund, the device is currently progressing towards clinical trials and the start-up intends to spin out from NUI Galway in 2021.

Each year, the Big Ideas showcase highlights not only the high quality of Irish research but the accomplishments of Ireland’s national technology transfer system.

All 12 pitches at the event were rooted in research at higher-education institutes across the country, and the majority targeted health-based challenges.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.