Seedcorn selects Galway start-up Nua Surgical as 2020 winner

2 Dec 2020

From left: Marie-Therese Maher, COO, and Barry McCann, CEO, Nua Surgical. Image: InterTradeIreland

Start-ups with a focus on the health sector came out on top in this year’s InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.

Women’s health start-up Nua Surgical has been named the overall winner of the 2020 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.

The Seedcorn programme from InterTradeIreland supports new and early-stage businesses from any sector and any part of the island of Ireland. Finalists in the annual investor readiness competition benefit from business planning workshops and mentorship throughout each stage, while judges evaluate their financial performance, milestone achievements, future strategy, management team and final pitch to the judging panel.

Having previously reached the regional finals of the competition in 2019, Nua Surgical took the top prize of €100,000 this year.

Based out of NUI Galway, Nua Surgical’s flagship product is SteriCision, a self-retaining retractor specifically designed for C-sections. This medical device will give doctors improved access to and visualisation of the uterus during Caesarean delivery, helping them to safely repair tissue, identify bleeds and prevent any prolonged complications. It can also reduce both procedure time and the risk of infection.

“Our success in Seedcorn is great validation of our investment opportunity. It demonstrates that we are now investor ready. This win is another stepping stone in bringing the device to market, where we can really make a difference in women’s health,” said Nua Surgical CEO Barry McCann.

Wins for Northern Ireland start-ups

Also honoured at the online awards ceremony was GenoME Diagnostics, which was awarded Best New Start with a prize of €50,000.

Established in 2020 as a spin-out of the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast, this start-up is developing a novel blood test for early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. It’s also believed that this technology could be applicable for a wider range of diseases.

Company COO Shannon Beattie said this win will help the company to validate the product and get in to clinics as quickly as possible. “It will also provide us with the opportunity to increase our business visibility internationally through networking at trade shows and conferences.”

Finally, Sonraí Analytics received a special award of €10,000. This Belfast-based software company provides pharmaceutical, bioscience and other medical research organisations with a remotely accessible and highly secure online platform where they can store, analyse and share large amounts of healthcare data.

Congratulating all three award winners, InterTradeIreland chair Ken Nelson said: “Seedcorn aims to nurture and promote the growth of new enterprises across the island of Ireland. After a difficult year, it’s extremely encouraging to see the wealth of enthusiasm, innovative thinking and ambition that these businesses – both North and South – bring to the table.”

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.