NUI Galway-based Loci Orthopaedics secures €8m in EIC funding

8 Jun 2022

From left: Loci Orthopaedics co-founder and CTO Gerry Clarke, co-founder and CEO Dr Brendan Boland and engineer Fiona Mangan. Image: Loci Orthopaedics

The grant and equity investment will be used to support a clinical trial on the company’s implant treatment for thumb arthritis, prior to full scale commercialisation.

Medtech start-up Loci Orthopaedics has secured €8m in funding and financial support from the European Commission, through the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme.

The Galway-based company will be awarded a €2.5m grant, followed by a €5.5m equity investment, supported by the European Investment Bank.

Founded as a spin-out from NUI Galway in 2017, Loci Orthopaedics has developed the InDx implant for the treatment of thumb base joint arthritis. This is a condition where degenerative arthritis at the base of the thumb causes pain, decreased hand function and a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

The company estimates that the market potential for this implant is more than €700m a year, as the condition affects around 30m people in the EU and 20m in the US.

“To receive this level of funding is a major endorsement of the need for a better treatment for this crippling condition,” said Loci Orthopaedics co-founder and CEO Dr Brendan Boland. “It is also a major validation of the company and the product that we have developed to try and relieve the pain and suffering of the many patients affected.”

Boland said the funding will be used to complete a recently started clinical trial, to get regulatory clearance in the EU and US. The company then plans full-scale commercialisation and clinical use of the implant.

In 2019, Loci Orthopaedics was awarded a €2.5m grant for its medical device. The year before, the start-up raised €2.75m. Enterprise Ireland funded the development work at NUI Galway through the Commercialisation Fund Programme.

“When designing the implant, we used the most recent biomechanics research as a key design input to ensure that the implant we designed fully recreates the natural biomechanics of the joint for superior clinical outcomes,” said Loci Orthopaedics co-founder and CTO Gerry Clarke.

“It is very gratifying to see this implant now being used in a clinical trial setting and the recent EIC funding sets the company on a clear course for wider adoption by the clinical community,” Clarke added.

In 2020, NUI Galway initiated an Enterprise Ireland-funded partnership programme with Loci Orthopaedics. Through this programme, the medtech start-up got access to 3D printing facilities at NUI Galway’s School of Mechanical Engineering, to further develop its implant.

The EIC was established as part of the EU’s €95bn Horizon Europe funding programme.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic