NIBRT-based Valitacell wins €2m in funding under Horizon 2020

15 Jun 2017

From left: Dr Carolanne Doherty, Dr Jerry Clifford, Dr Ben Thompson and Dr Terry McWade. Image: Angela Halpin

Valitacell gets cash injection to transform how next-generation medicines are produced.

Early-stage biotech company Valitacell has won €2.02m in funding under the latest EU Horizon 2020 (H2020) round.

The funding, under the H2020 SME instrument Phase 2, will fund the advancement and commercialisation of Valitacell’s ChemStress technology for the next two years.

‘We are now ready to introduce our next suite of our exciting technology, ChemStress, which will disrupt the current biomanufacturing process’

ChemStress is a potentially disruptive technology that enables biopharmaceutical companies to manufacture life-saving drugs cheaper, faster and with greater regulatory confidence.

The next generation of medicines

Founded in 2014 and headquartered at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), Valitacell is transforming the way next-generation medicines are being produced, so that more patients will have greater access to high-tech drugs, which treat complex diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases and rare medical conditions.

These drugs, which are known as biologics, are complex and very expensive to manufacture, meaning that many patients have been unable to access them.

“We launched our first product in March 2016 and this is being routinely used by global biopharmaceutical giants including, for example, AstraZeneca in Cambridge, GE Healthcare in Sweden, Shire in Austria and Shanghai Medical Device Company in China,” explained Dr Terry McWade, CEO of Valitacell.

“We are now ready to introduce our next suite of our exciting technology, ChemStress, which will disrupt the current biomanufacturing process.”

ChemStress has a significant role to play in taking costs and time out of the manufacturing process, allowing these drugs to get to market in a more efficient manner. This can help to rebalance the economic equation and make these drugs more widely available.

Valitacell was the overall winner at the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn 2016 competition, and was recently shortlisted for the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2017.

It plans to double its workforce in the next six months, with talented scientists from areas such as biological and chemical engineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning, assay development and biotechnology.

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