Irish companies secure €7m in latest Horizon 2020 SME Instrument round

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Clockwise from left: Frank Walsh, partner, Enterprise Equity; Bill Liao, European investment partner, SOSV; Charles Garvey, CEO, Metabolomic Diagnostics; and Prof Louise Kenny, consultant obstetrician. Image: Cameo

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64 projects across the EU won funding in the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument.

Three Irish companies have together secured grants amounting to €7m in the most recent round of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funding, which received 1,280 applications from all over Europe.

AuriGen Medical, Atxa Therapeutics and Metabolomic Diagnostics were the three Irish recipients among the 64 projects, snagging €7m in funding out of a total pot of €110m.

All three companies are in the life sciences field and the funding will be used to further progress the development of their innovations and enable them to be ready for market.

Irish SMEs secure big wins

AuriGen Medical is developing the first entirely trans-septal implant to treat the risk of both stroke and arrhythmia associated with persistent atrial fibrillation.

Atxa Therapeutics aims to develop small molecule drugs to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in order to improve treatment options for PAH patients.

Metabolomic Diagnostics aims to develop innovative screening tests that can assess someone’s risk of developing complications when they are pregnant. It is hoping to commercialise PrePsia, a simple test that can predict pre-term pre-eclampsia.

Charles Garvey, CEO of Metabolomic Diagnostics, said: “This award will be used to accelerate our go-to-market strategy. We plan to market the product next year, and now, with this support from EU, we believe that PrePsia has the potential to become part of pregnancy screening programmes worldwide.”

Horizon 2020 provides millions in funding

The Horizon 2020 SME Instrument has seen Irish companies acquire almost €62m to date. The funding aims to support small and medium enterprises with a radically new idea and business plan in the creation of marketable solutions and the implementation of an international scaling strategy.

The scheme ethos is simple: “The SME instrument offers Europe’s brightest and boldest entrepreneurs the chance to step forward and request funding for breakthrough ideas with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing ones.”

A strong Irish success rate

The Irish support network for Horizon 2020, the EU-wide programme for research and innovation, is funded by the Irish Government through Enterprise Ireland. Since the programme’s inception in 2014, Ireland has secured more than €513m through Horizon 2020.

Imelda Lambkin, national director for Horizon 2020, congratulated the companies: “Ireland’s highly innovative SMEs have a strong success rate in Europe for the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and we are delighted that three more have won significant funding in this round.

“The success of Irish companies at a European level is built on Enterprise Ireland supports, which aim to develop the innovative solutions and capability of SMEs to win Horizon 2020 funding.”

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com