NUI Galway delivers a spectacular array of investor ready start-up opportunities at the BioExel Medtech Showcase 2019

Nov 05 2019 Posted: 15:11 GMT

BioExel held its Medtech Opportunity Investor showcase in the Meyrick Hotel on recently, featuring over 40 start-up companies based in Ireland. This aim of the showcase was to provide national and international investors the breath of exciting opportunities emerging from the Medtech start-up ecosystem, particularly in the west of Ireland.

The event illustrated how start-ups in the region are innovation drivers, developing novel life-changing technologies in collaboration with healthcare professionals, academia, manufacturers, SMEs and multinationals. Examples of this can be shown in some of the successes from the Bioexel companies such as;

1)Hidramed Solutions - CEO Suzanne Moloney from Hidramed Solutions is developing HidraWear, the world’s first adhesive-free wound care solution for suffers of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) which is a disease of the skin that affects at least 1 in 100 people. 

Suzanne said: “Bioexel really enabled me put a structure in place for my medical concept and through constant support and mentoring I developed a commercial roadmap that has led to IP, product design, clinical trial, CE marking, and seed investment. The dedicated Accelerator is a great mechanism to engage with experienced mentors and become part of the environment that supports each other on the start-up journey”

2)Bluedrop Medical another Bioexel participant successfully raised €3.7m in 2019 with a mix of investment and EU grant funding to enable further clinical emersion of the product. The home based system performs a daily scan of the patient’s feet and sends the data to the cloud for analysis through advanced algorithms capable of detecting abnormalities. By detecting skin damage early, the technology could enable healthcare providers to prevent hundreds of thousands of amputations, improving lives and significantly reducing costs.

3)Cortechs has created data-driven, therapeutic applications that use cognitive training, brainwaves and biofeedback    data to improve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is based on neurofeedback which is scientifically proven to improve attention deficit behaviors. The company has already received an EU grant of €1.3m for development of their products and is now open for seed investment of €2m.

BioExcel’s two-year pilot delivered great success with 14 companies securing investment and funding of €9.7m and creating 52 jobs. BioExel is managed by Medtech Director, Dr Sandra Ganly, also a co-founder of BioInnovate Ireland and Senior Research Fellow in NUI Galway, and Fiona Neary, Commercial Director and co-founder of BioExel, and Innovation Operations Manager at NUI Galway.

The Western region has a strong Medtech ecosystem and this is actively supported by the expertise and infrastructure at NUI Galway. The strength of this ecosystem was very visible at the event as 25 NUI Galway start-up companies exhibited, presented and showcased to an audience of investors not only in person but streamed to investor’s locations around the world from San Francisco, Boston, New York, London and Geneva. The event encapsulated panel discussions, words from key opinion leaders and successes from early stage companies.

The event was opened by Fiona Neary, before opening remarks from Professor Ciarán hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, and Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC). Between pitches and presentations by companies present, insightful panel discussions took place. The first panel discussion, chaired by Dr Sandra Ganly, focused on the impact of grant supports on fundraising strategies for start-ups and how these grants are enabling the start-up community progress to market readiness. Sandra was joined by Tony O’Halloran, CTO and Co-Founder of Aurigen Medical, Dr. Brendan Boland, CEO and Co-founder of Loci Orthopaedics Ltd, and Dr Imelda Lambkin, Manager of Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund at Enterprise Ireland.

The second panel discussion focused on the role and impact of domain specific accelerators on an ecosystem and how the success of Bioexel shows this model works. This panel was chaired by Gillian Buckley, General Partner for BioExel and Investment Manager for the WDC. She was joined by Donnchadh Cullinan, Manager of Banking Relations and Growth Capital at Enterprise Ireland, Eimear Gleeson, Investment Associate at Atlantic Bridge Ventures and David Murphy, Director of the Innovation Office at NUI Galway. According to Gillian Buckley, “Bioexel has filled a critical gap in the Western Region’s ecosystem and supports a new generation of MedTech companies. Bioexel builds on the reputation of the West of Ireland as an international centre of excellence in Medtech. Bioexel along with the WDC Investment Fund are unique resources to the region’s entrepreneurs to set up and grow indigenous Irish businesses from a regional location.”

Jennifer Melia, Manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting early stage collaborative innovative opportunities between the enterprise sector and health system with the aim of internationalising medtech technologies. To date, 14 new and emerging enterprises have and continue to benefit from the BioExcel programme through direct collaboration with international technology and healthcare sector stakeholders. Enterprise Ireland has supported the programme which successfully delivered on its objective to accelerate the commercialisation process of new technologies, products and services in a regional location.”

BioExel is a partnership programme funded by Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, Galway University Foundation, Bank of Ireland seed and early stage equity fund, and hosted by NUI Galway.

The University is home to Ireland’s only centre for stem cell manufacturing, extensive translational and clinical facilities, biomedical sciences research laboratories, and the CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices. This is further strengthened by NUI Galway’s expertise in funding grants, knowledge transfer, and innovation programmes such as BioInnovate and BioExel.


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