Skin cancer treatment tech wins grand prize at Invent Awards

9 Oct 2020

From left: Niall Devlin, Bank of Ireland; Bridgeen Callan, KLAS-PDT Technology; and Steve Orr, Catalyst. Image: Brian Morrison

Technology created to aid in skin cancer treatment picked up the grand prize of £13,000 at this year’s Invent Awards.

A total of 12 finalists took part in this year’s Northern Ireland Invent Awards but the overall winner was revealed to be KLAS-PDT Technology, which took home the £13,000 grand prize.

KLAS-PDT Technology is a peptide-based non-invasive therapy for metastatic melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It is used alongside current immunotherapies to increase their effectiveness at a reduced cost to the provider and less toxicity for the user.

The founder of KLAS-PDT Technology, Bridgeen Callan, said: “We have developed an innovative new therapy for treating metastatic melanoma that results in no scarring for the patient and also reduces cost.

“The Invent process has been invaluable to help me translate the science into something that is more understandable and which I hope can be made available to everyone.”

In addition to taking home the grand prize, KLAS-PDT Technology was named winner in the competition’s Life and Health Sciences category.

Other award winners

The annual start-up competition, which has a prize fund of £33,000 and is organised by non-profit organisation Catalyst, had more than 100 applicants this year. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, teams pitched their ideas at ICC Belfast’s hybrid studio last night (8 October) and the event was streamed live to a virtual audience.

Winners in other categories included:

  • Creative Media and Consumer Internet – Sport Buff
  • Enterprise Software – MoveTru
  • Agri Science – Stallion Services
  • Engineering- AJEA
  • Electronics – AntennaWare

All 12 finalists also competed in a one-minute elevator pitch to win £1,000, with the winner being named as Truss Buddy.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Student Invent competition was named as Belfast-based Kezie Todd from Ulster University. Todd developed Arcadia Report, a mystery experience that transforms your city into an escape room using a digital storytelling platform.

A further four awards were presented to Bloc Blinds, Axial3D, SureCert and Ulster University’s Prof Tara Moore, recognising their success in pivoting their businesses or working to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the winners, Invent programme manager Kerry McGarvey said: “Congratulations to Bridgeen and all of this year’s winners and finalists.

“The finalists are all companies that are aiming to solve real-world problems and the breadth of different ideas that were covered in this year’s competition has firmly demonstrated that innovation really is alive and well in Northern Ireland.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic