£500k investment in Queen’s University Belfast spin-out Causeway Sensors

13 Oct 2016

Pictured: Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital and Dr Robert Pollard, CEO of Causeway Sensors

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund is leading a £500,000 investment in Causeway Sensors, a spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast.

Founded by fellow Queen’s University Belfast academics Dr Robert Pollard, Prof Robert Bowman and Dr John Nelson, the company has developed novel nanostructured chips for sensing applications, accompanied with a reading device for the detection and measurement of various proteins (antibodies).

The capability to sense the presence of low levels of proteins and their interactions means that Causeway’s technology can be used as a diagnostic instrument across multiple applications. These include the detection of early-stage cancer and other diseases, food security, and drug discovery.

The company’s pioneering technology has emerged from 10+ years of research in Queen’s University Belfast, which was partly supported by Invest Northern Ireland (NI).

Belfast start-up targets $22bn opportunity

Causeway Sensors is focused on the global biosensor industry which is expected to reach over $22bn by 2020.

The company will use this investment to commercialise its technology, with an initial focus on the growing area of medical diagnostics.

“This investment is a great confidence boost for Causeway Sensors and will allow us to expedite our growth plans to commercialise and scale our technology,” said Dr Pollard.

“Together with continued support from both Kernel and QUBIS, the company is focused on delivering on our innovation road map.”

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) was designed to help SMEs in Northern Ireland to accelerate their growth. Invest NI has committed £15m of funding to this fund which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

“It is great to see another Queen’s University spin-out thriving. Causeway Sensors is a prime example of the success that can be achieved from bringing a concept through the ‘Research to Commercialisation’ process,” said Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital.

“This investment will, therefore, help Causeway to develop the potential of its nanotechnology, and to grow and scale both nationally and internationally, while also stimulating the local economy and creating new employment opportunities in areas where Northern Ireland has world-class leadership.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years