Four Irish start-ups win funding at Horizon Europe’s 2023 EIC accelerator

20 Jun 2023

Left to right: Martin O’Halloran, Luminate Medical; Peter F Doyle, BioSimulytics Limited; Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland; John Reid, Celtic Biotech Ltd. Image: Maxwell Photography

Since Horizon Europe began its EIC accelerator in 2021, Irish companies have secured approval awards totalling €129m.

Four start-ups all operating in the medtech sector have been allocated millions in prize funding following their participation in the European Innovation Centre’s (EIC) accelerator programme.

Luminate Medical, Hooke Bio, BioSimulytics, and Celtic Biotech won funding approvals of up to €18m. All four start-ups have previously been backed by Enterprise Ireland. The organisation leads the Irish national support network which helps start-ups compete in the Horizon Europe accelerator.

Luminate Medical is a health tech company based in Galway that builds devices to try and minimise the side effects of cancer treatment on patients. It is currently working on a device that aims to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Shannon, Co Clare-based Hooke Bio spun out from University of Limerick in 2017. Since then, it has developed a high-throughput screening microfluidic platform that can allow for improved drug screening at the early drug discovery phase.

Celtic Biotech and BioSimulytics are both based in Dublin. Celtic Biotech develops novel drug therapy for the treatment of solid cancers and pain. Its therapies have the potential to increase survival and improve the quality of life of people with cancer.

BioSimulytics spun out of NovaUCD in Dublin in 2019 and it still has its headquarters there. The company is developing a next-generation digital platform for faster, more accurate and more predictable drug development.

These four companies are not the only start-ups from Ireland to have been awarded funding by the EIC. Since Horizon Europe began its accelerator in 2021, Irish companies have secured approvals totalling €129m. It was set up as part of the EU’s Horizon Europe 2021 to 2027 research and innovation programme, which emphasised the importance of backing high-tech, research-led start-ups operating in the region.

This year, more than 550 applications were submitted and 139 companies were selected for interview. Out of the 139 founders that were interviewed, 51 received funding allocations. The 51 successful entrepreneurs will get a total of up to €261m in a combination of grants and equity investments.

Aaron Hannon, co-founder and CEO of Luminate Medical described the allocation of funding following evaluation by “expert panels at several stages” as a “major endorsement” of his team and its approach.

Mark Lyons, CEO of Hooke Bio praised Enterprise Ireland’s involvement in the process, adding that they “played a key role in supporting us on this journey from its very inception.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic