Medical diagnostics firm HiberGene prepares for liquidation

12 Sep 2022

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HiberGene reportedly owes around €1.3m to unsecured creditors, while the board blamed a group of shareholders for impacting negotiations with a potential funding source.

Medical diagnostics business HiberGene has appointed a liquidator to help wind down the company following a meeting with shareholders.

The Irish start-up has chosen accountant Colin Gaynor of Resolute Advisory as its appointed liquidator, according to a statement seen by The Irish Times. This statement indicates HiberGene owes around €1.3m to unsecured creditors, while employees are owed almost €305,000.

The financial issues surrounding the medtech start-up have been brewing for some months. In July, a group of HiberGene’s shareholders held a “rebel EGM” that was not recognised by management, which was highly critical of the company’s performance, the Sunday Independent reported.

The troubled firm told shareholders in August that it had been in talks with potential strategic partners. The company’s update also accused the shareholders involved in the EGM of negatively impacting these talks and damaging shareholder value, according to the Sunday Independent.

HiberGene’s board of directors first informed shareholders of plans to appoint a liquidator on 26 August, according to an update seen by The Irish Times. In this update, the board blamed a group of shareholders for disclosing “confidential company business”, which caused a potential source of funding to pull out of negotiations.

HiberGene has been developing, manufacturing and marketing rapid diagnostic tests. Using the tagline ‘Saving time, saving life’, the company has focused on products that can reduce the turnaround time for patient testing.

The company said its technology could diagnose meningitis in less than one hour thanks to innovative, real-time results with software. This compares to traditional ‘culture’ methods that need to be sent to a laboratory and can take days to get results.

HiberGene raised $2.1m in 2014 from private investors along with Enterprise Ireland and Kernel Capital, and went on to secure further investment in the following years.

In 2020, it received EU approval for a rapid molecular Covid-19 test. The company developed a portable device to accurately detect a positive viral infection within 30 minutes and have a negative result returned within an hour.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic