Northern Ireland biotech company secures US$900K


4 Apr 2011

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Biotech company SiSaf has become the first biotech company in Northern Ireland to receive a Silicon Valley investment of $900,000.

The company employs nanoparticles to enable active compounds to penetrate deeper into the dermal layer, to target the cell membrane, and to be released in a controlled manner. It is an innovative technology that not only enhances the efficiency and localisation of active compounds, it is also bioactive, biocompatible and 100pc safe, which has been a predominant issue for both medical and skincare applications.

The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) in Silicon Valley launched the funding, which was secured through the Irish Innovation Center (IIC) and Innovation Ulster limited (IUL).

SiSaf plans to advance its Si-Safe delivery system through partnerships and collaborations on a product-by-product basis. Its technology will provide the full development and registration of products that have yet to reach the market and/or enhance the sales of products whose market potential is limited due to issues of bioavailability or toxicity.

The investment will enable the company to expand its R&D team, with particular focus on developing the skills and knowledge of new graduate scientists from the region.

Sisaf CEO Dr Suzanne Saffie-Siebert said winning the ITLG Emerging Technology Award in Stanford University in March last year helped secure this large investment, stating, “Since being selected for the ITLG workshops in October 2009 and winning the ITLG Emerging Technology Award, Sisaf has received an incredible level of support from the ITLG team.

“When the IIC was launched in 2011 it made perfect sense for Sisaf to set up our US HQ there and with this footprint we have received mentoring, support, high-level introductions and now significant investment through the centre that would otherwise not have been possible. Interestingly, the IIC largely shares the same goals as those of the NI Science Park and already there are strong bonds and relationships which will only become stronger in the months ahead.”

“Having an investor who is prepared to fund the company through to completion of the development phase means that our R&D team can focus on demonstrating efficacy for the pipeline products in as short a time as possible. Importantly, we didn’t just secure funding, we also secured IIC’s team of experts, who will be instrumental for the company’s continued success,” concluded Saffie-Siebert. 

Welcoming news of the investment, John Hartnett, president and founder of ITLG, said, “We are delighted that Suzanne and Sisaf have now closed this funding round that will now allow them to rapidly scale their revolutionary drug-delivery technology.”

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