Science is in Ireland’s DNA and the quality of young companies to watch is pretty much scientific evidence of this.
We’re a caring and pragmatic bunch, the Irish, and therefore it is no surprise that the majority of effort by science-led start-ups is in areas such as health and medicine, because that’s also where the money is.
Thanks to the groundwork that has been laid by the academic institutions and the work of Science Foundation Ireland for almost the past 20 years, the tapestry and fabric of Ireland’s innovative ecosystem has never been better.
Earlier this year, we reported that Ireland broke into the top 10 rankings of scientific research by Thomson Reuters and Clarivate InCites for the period 2016-2017. The country is currently 11th in the rankings for 2017-2018.
Here are the science-based Irish start-ups to watch in the year ahead:
AuriGen Medical is developing the first entirely trans-septal implant to treat the risk of both stroke and arrhythmia associated with persistent atrial fibrillation. Founded in 2016 by Tony O’Halloran and Dr John Thompson, AuriGen has raised €2.5m in funding support from Horizon 2020 after ranking number one out of 1,280 applications from all sectors across Europe.
— CroiValve (@CroiValve) April 19, 2018
CroíValve is an early-stage medical device company focused on developing a minimally invasive device for the treatment of tricuspid regurgitation. The company is developing a safe, effective and easy-to-deliver device to significantly reduce tricuspid regurgitation in high-risk patients. Founded by Lucy O’Keefe, Martin Quinn, Paul Heneghan and Bruce Murphy, the company was earlier this year awarded the RDS Silver Medal and won the MedTech Awards innovation pitch.
Dr Ivan Coulter has been appointed CEO of ATXA Therapeutics. @ATXA_Ireland, a UCD pharmaceutical spin-out, is focused on the discovery and development of new therapeutic drugs in heart and lung diseases. https://t.co/nix7ZB6Kq7 @Entirl pic.twitter.com/P4WsTiJT5o
— NovaUCD (@NovaUCD) November 1, 2018
ATXA Therapeutics aims to develop small molecule drugs to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension in order to improve treatment options for these patients. A spin-out from University College Dublin, it was founded in 2015 by Daniel O’Mahony and Therese Kinsella. Earlier this year, the company raised €2.5m in the form of a Horizon 2020 grant.
— EI Technology Gateway (@EITechGateway) October 26, 2017
EnteraSense has developed a capsule that can be ingested by patients after surgery to monitor for any subsequent upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The photonic system acquires data from the environment, and it is then processed by an algorithm to determine if blood is present. The company was founded by Donal Devery, Dr Chris Thompson and Dr Marvin Ryou.
Genomics Medicine Ireland
Genomics Medicine Ireland is creating a scientific platform to examine the human genome in order to better understand the role of genetics in disease and rare conditions, leading to new prevention strategies and treatments. The company was founded in Ireland in 2015 by a group of leading life sciences entrepreneurs, investors and researchers. Investors in the company include Amgen, Google Ventures, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, ArchVenture Partners and Polaris Partners. In 2016, Genomics Medicine Ireland raised $40m in Series A funding, paving the way for 150 jobs in Dublin. In recent weeks, the company named Dr Anne Jones as its new CEO.
Loci Orthopaedics has developed a new clinically proven solution to address the increasing unmet need for thumb-base joint arthritis. Co-founded by Brendan Boland and Gerry Clarke, Loci Orthopaedics recently raised €2.75m in funding to bring its solution to market.
Neurent Medical is a medical device company based in Galway. The company is developing a minimally invasive treatment for rhinitis, a condition affecting millions of people worldwide. The company recently raised €9.3m in a funding round led by Fountain Healthcare Partners including participation from Atlantic Bridge Capital, the Western Development Commission and Enterprise Ireland, as well as a syndicate of Irish medtech veterans.
Nuritas uses big data techniques to sift through large amounts of data to discover peptides from food and food by-products, which provide unique solutions for the maintenance of health and wellness. The company recently harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to create a bioactive ingredient that will be brought to market in collaboration with BASF. Last December, Siliconrepublic.com reported that Nuritas secured €16m in Series A funding led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, bringing its total investment at the time to approximately €25m from a list of investors that includes Bono and Edge from U2, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Earlier this year, we also reported that Nuritas is working with food giant Nestlé to discover bioactive peptide networks within natural food sources.
Metabolomic Diagnostics aims to develop innovative screening tests that can assess someone’s risk of developing complications when they are pregnant. It is hoping to commercialise PrePsia, a simple test that can predict pre-term pre-eclampsia. Led by CEO Charles Garvey, the company has raised €5.9m to date from investors that include SOSV, Enterprise Equity, AIB Seed Capital Fund and the EU’s Horizon 2020.
SiriusXT has created a benchtop soft X-ray microscope called the SXT100, which can generate high-resolution images of the internal structure of whole biological cells. Founded in 2015 by Dr Kenneth Fahy, Dr Fergal O’Reilly and Dr Paul Sheridan following 10 years of research, the company has raised €6m in funding so far, including backing from Horizon 2020 and Enterprise Ireland.
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Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic