6 Irish start-ups presenting at BioEquity Europe 2023

12 May 2023

Image: © chrisdorney/Stock.adobe.com

BioEquity Europe is coming to Dublin this year, giving biotech, pharma and life sciences start-ups the chance to attract international investment.

BioEquity Europe is an annual gathering of the corporate investment communities for the European life sciences ecosystem.

Last year’s event, which took place in Milan, saw more than 800 delegates from 30 countries attending, while more than 150 companies presented.

This year’s event, which takes place in the Convention Centre Dublin on 14-16 May, will host a programme focused on how to create a new playbook for biotech success in Europe.

The event will also hold strategic panels on the biotech sector and will give more than 130 companies the opportunity to meet international VCs.

Among the companies at this year’s event are six spin-outs from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) that are advancing a variety of solutions to unmet clinical needs in areas such as cancer treatment, gene therapy and orphan drugs.


A spin-out from the group of Prof Leonie Young of the RCSI Department of Surgery, with co-founders Prof Arnie Hill and Dr Damir Vareslija, Probmet is a precision oncology therapeutics company that is developing targeted treatments for breast cancer brain metastatic patients.

The team will lead the development of breakthrough targeted therapies for metastatic breast cancer in the brain, a devastating disease that currently has limited treatment options.

Probmet is currently a participant in the BioInnovation Institute (BII) Venture Lab acceleration programme for early-stage companies.

Renovate Pharma

Founded by Dr Cian O’Leary of the RCSI School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Renovate Pharma brings together a team with strong commercial, pharmaceutical and regenerative medicine backgrounds to focus on the development of new clinical indications and reformulations for off-patent drugs.

Renovate’s commercial strategy is focused on the identification of candidate molecules which are eligible for orphan drug designation and thereby availing of regulatory and exclusivity incentives.

LEP Biomedical

Founded by Dr Alan Hibbitts of the RCSI Department of Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine, Local Enhanced Pharmaceutics (LEP) Biomedical is developing a flexible platform technology (HyaGuard) to eliminate uncontrolled inflammation and fibrosis in ophthalmic surgeries.

Designed to be placed under the conjunctiva as part of a normal surgery, HyaGuard will significantly improve patient quality of life by reducing surgical failures and eliminating burdensome post-operative drop regimes.

LEP Biomedical is focused initially on raising a seed round to address the glaucoma post-op market with other indications to follow.

Parvalis Tx

Parvalis Tx is a seed stage drug discovery company funded by Lightstone Ventures, Atlantic Bridge and Enterprise Ireland.

The company is a spin-out from TCD and was founded by Dr William McCormack and Professor Kingston Mills.

The company is developing novel oral immunomodulatory compounds against a high-value pathway that has been validated clinically and commercially by biologic therapies.


AilseVax formed as a spin-out company from Queen’s University Belfast and TCD. The partnership was built on a decade-long academic collaboration in the cancer vaccine field.

AilseVax’s goal is to use proprietary platform technologies to develop unique off-the-shelf therapeutic cancer vaccines that work in multiple patient populations.

AilseVax team is made up of cancer experts from Queen’s University and TCD including Prof Ed Lavelle, Prof Dan Longley, Prof Chris Scott, Dr Mehdi Jafarnejad, Dr Simon McDade and Dr Sarah Maguire.

Led by Dr Paul Kerr CEO, AilseVax is an asset-centric company which has secured InnovateUK and seed funding from QUBis, TechStart Ventures and Clarendon Fund Mangers of £1.5m to commence operations in 2022.

Vzarii Therapeutics

Vzarii Therapeutics is a preclinical stage spin-out from the Farrar Laboratory at TCD and is led by a team with strong scientific and commercial expertise, Jane Farrar and Loretto Callaghan.

Vzarii is developing innovative gene therapy solutions that target mitochondrial dysfunction for neurodegenerative diseases.

Vzarii’s lead programme VZ-103 addresses a large market with a significant unmet need – geographic atrophy, a late stage of age-related macular degeneration which impacts an estimated 6m people globally.

In parallel, Vzarii are progressing the development of other assets in ocular and neurodegenerative disease where mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated.

Updated, 5.30pm, 28 June 2023: This article has been updated to clarify the intended use of LEP Biomedical’s HyaGuard product.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic