Biopharma start-up Valitacell wins €100,000 InterTradeIreland prize

24 Nov 2016

Dr Terry McWade, CEO of Valitacell. Image: Conor McCabe

Dublin-based Valitacell, a start-up providing analytical support to the biopharma industry, has landed top prize at the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.

Taking home €100,000 for its troubles, Valitacell’s success with InterTradeIreland – winning €20,000 earlier this year – continued for a fine second half to 2016.

Valitacell saw off stiff competition from rival start-ups, including Dundalk-based Gecko Governance, the winner of the best early-stage company category award and a cash prize of €50,000.


There were over 300 applications from start-ups throughout the island from sectors such as pharma, ICT, energy, software, biometrics and even waste management.

Though it was Valitacell, housed at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training facility, that stole the show.

Dr Terry McWade, CEO of Valitacell, was “absolutely delighted” with the recognition, claiming the entire process “taught the whole team a lot and allowed us to refine many aspects of our business”.

“We developed an improved business plan that helped us to refine our message and strategy for investors. The emphasis that we have put on communications and messaging means we can make our offering more understood to businesses and customers that do not have a technical or scientific background,” he said.

Earlier this month, Valitacell was named as a Dublin finalist of Seedcorn, landing a €20,000 prize.

During the summer, the company raised €1.3m from investors, largely from British Virgin Islands firms.

“The €100,000 cash prize will allow us to develop a targeted sales and marketing strategy which will focus on market engagement and securing new customers.”

Gecko Governance makes regulation technology for the global finance industry that allows fund managers to monitor and manage their regulation and compliance requirements.

Shane Brett, founder and CEO of the company, was similarly delighted with a €50,000 prize.

“We have learned the importance of providing investors with a properly structured and articulated business plan with clear credible goals and realistic assumptions of our future business strategy,” he said.

“We will use the prize money to accelerate our expansion plans – specifically in rolling out our London office later this year.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic