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Medicine Research Network Launched at UCC

Medicine Research Network Launched at UCC

The UCC School of Pharmacy-led PEARRL (Pharmaceutical Education and Research with Regulatory Links) Network officially launched this week. The network, funded by Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie innovation programme, aims to achieve earlier patient access to new medicines, has been launched.

The PEARRL project brings together 18 leading European institutions, including Pharma industry, academia and regulatory agency partners to deliver a unique research and training programme.

Fifteen early stage researchers will be recruited in PEARRL, to focus on research into developing drug formulation strategies to enable accelerated approval and reduced cost of development, in turn facilitating earlier patient access to breakthrough therapies.

Project Coordinator of PEARRL Dr Brendan Griffin, from the School of Pharmacy, UCC, said: “Within PEARRL, our research will develop novel drug delivery technology, new screening methods and innovative models to forecast drug levels in humans, which will collectively streamline the development of new oral medicines. In addition, PEARRL will provide a unique training network for developing the next generation of leading pharmaceutical and regulatory scientists.”

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Medical Research, R&D Investment, R&D News, University Investment0 Comments

UCD to Lead €4 million European Research Network Developing Mental Health Services Technologies

UCD to Lead €4 million European Research Network Developing Mental Health Services Technologies

Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People (TEAM), a new €4 million research and training network focused on developing new technologies to support the provision of mental health services for young people, was announced on Tuesday, November 22, at University College Dublin (UDC).

A UCD Press release said that numerous international studies have concluded that many people experiencing mental health difficulties do not have access to appropriate support. Young people have been identified as being particularly vulnerable and requiring specific attention. Research suggests that 50% of mental disorders emerge by 14 years of age. Untreated difficulties at a young age also triple the likelihood of further difficulties in later life.

TEAM, which brings together a multi-disciplinary network of mental health experts, computer scientists, designers and policy experts from five countries, (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and the UK) will provide a doctoral training and research platform for 15 PhD students.

The overall objective of the TEAM network is to train these researchers to deliver more effective, affordable and accessible mental health services for young people. The network will also focus on the design, development and evaluation of new technology enabled mental health services.

TEAM, led by University College Dublin, involves nine partners; four universities (Technical University of Denmark, Technical University Vienna, University of Glasgow and UCD); two university hospitals (Medical University Vienna, Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen (Region Hovedstaden)), two not-for-profit organisations (The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, ReachOut Ireland Ltd); and one industry research laboratory (Telefonica Alpha).

Dr David Coyle, TEAM project co-ordinator, and a researcher in human computer interaction at UCD’s School of Computer Science said, “We are not going to address all of the challenges in youth mental health in just four years. But we do aim to train a new generation of researchers, with a unique combination of skills, who will be at the forefront of this challenge in the coming decades.”

He added, “Technology can play an important role in improving mental health services, but only if we get the details right. It was critical that TEAM had an appropriate balance of mental health experts, computer scientists and designers. Throughout the project we will work in close partnership with mental health services and with people with experiences of mental health difficulties.”

The TEAM research programme is built around four key themes: assessment, prevention, treatment and policy. It aims to deliver new technologies that can support rapid, early and large-scale assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people.

Posted in Healthcare, IT Research, R&D Investment, University Investment0 Comments

EpiCor Therapeutics wins UCD Start-up of the Year Award

EpiCor Therapeutics wins UCD Start-up of the Year Award

Biotech start-up EpiCor Therapeutics won the UCD Start-Up of the Year Award 2016 on Thursday, November 17. It received a €20,000 prize as part of the overall winner award of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The start-up is aiming to develop a treatment for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM), a significant cause of sudden cardiac death.

HOCM is a disease in which a portion of the heart muscle is enlarged without any obvious cause resulting in impairment of the heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and heart palpitations. In the US alone, HOCM currently affects around 175,000 people with associated annual healthcare costs amounting to over $1 billion.

EpiCor Therapeutics is currently focused on repurposing an existing drug, 5-azacytidine, for the treatment of HOCM. It will also investigate the use of biomarkers to deliver targeted treatment for individuals.

EpiCor Therapeutics was founded by Dr John Baugh, Dr Nadia Glezeva, Dr Chris Watson, Dr Mark Ledwidge and Professor Ken McDonald, all of UCD School of Medicine.

“It is an honour for EpiCor Therapeutics to win the 2016 UCD Start-up of the Year Award,” said Dr John Baugh. “It is a great endorsement for us going forward as we work to develop treatments to target a variety of heart diseases, including our initial focus on hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

The disease has no approved disease-modifying therapeutics, is a significant cause of sudden cardiac death of individuals in any age group and a leading cause of such death in young athletes.

EpiCor Therapeutics is now seeking to raise €750,000 in seed funding to enable pre-clinical bridging studies. Following additional fund raising, it plans to proceed with a clinical proof-of-concept study to support its approval as a treatment for HOCM.

UCD’s annual VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme aims to support and accelerate the launch of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property emerging from the university.

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Medical Research, R&D Investment, R&D News, University Investment0 Comments

Irish startup gets €500k investment to research medical benefits of cannabis

Irish startup gets €500k investment to research medical benefits of cannabis

GreenLight Medicines has secured €500,000 from a consortium of Irish investors to fund research into the potential medicinal benefits of cannabis extracts.

The Irish pharmaceutical start-up, founded in 2015, has also secured €1.35 million in cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil from Swiss-American firm, Isodiol. The CBD, which comprises around 40% of the cannabis plant’s extract, will assist GreenLight in conducting its research studies in Irish universities over the next five years.

GreenLight is the first indigenous company to focus on the production and sale of molecules from marijuana. Founder and CEO, Dr James Linden, says: “There’s mounting evidence that cannabinoids are an effective form of treatment for many illnesses, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and cancer.

“Our private investors have a track record in pharma investment in Europe and the US, and their knowledge and financial commitment, in addition to Isodiol’s investment, will enable us to complete our initial research modules into cannabinoid treatment for inflammation, eye disease and pain relief amongst other conditions.”

Since its inception, Linden and his team at GreenLight has focused on collaborations with Irish universities, such as UCD, UCC and NUI Galway, with this month seeing the beginning of the first research projects for these potential treatments.

Posted in Healthcare, News, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

The Irish Government, both north and south of the border, has indicated an intent to work together with the biopharma industry to grow talent, competitiveness and innovation across the whole island. Attendees at the Biopharma Ambition Conference were told that continued partnership between the state and industry could not only boost the Irish economy, it could also help to create an environment to discover next-generation treatments for a range of diseases.

Addressing delegates at the prestigious biopharma congress which took place across a range of Dublin locations, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “We want to help continued innovation in the industry that may lead not just to more job opportunities in Ireland but also to the development of new treatments that positively impact the lives of people all across the globe.”

This pledge to continue its fine work with industry comes at a crucial time, as the uncertainty that has flowed from the Brexit vote has the potential to impact the biopharma industry in Northern Ireland, in particular, which has the potential to double in size by 2020, generating revenues of £1.6 billion per annum. The €30 billion in exports that flows from the Irish economy could also see a further 8,000 jobs added over the next three years.

Northern Ireland Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, told delegates: “A climate which promotes partnerships between government, academia, clinical and private sectors in Northern Ireland has been central to this growth. If we are to sustain and, indeed, build upon this success, then the same spirit of collaboration will help develop new and innovative processes which will deliver, both in terms of prosperity and public health benefits.”

The organisers of the conference, BioPharmaChem Ireland, as well as the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have called for a focus on three factors that will greatly aid the biopharma industry in Ireland reach its potential: an emphasis on talent, growth in competitiveness and growth in health innovation.

Speaking later at the conference, Minister for Health Simon Harris commented: “This conference sends a welcome signal that the industry is committed to making Ireland a real centre of excellence for biopharma – and to continuing its pursuit of new innovations that can transform the lives of patients in Ireland and elsewhere.”

A key focus from the conference, from the perspective of everyone from regulators to the companies themselves, was growing talent. While Ireland boasts an attractive offering in terms of the educated workforce it can provide to companies, more work is still needed to ensure that young professionals joining the pharma or biotech industries are equipped with the specific skills they will need to succeed in this career.

Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Association, added: “In order to grow the tangible benefits of the industry and life changing solutions we are calling on both Governments, North and South, to commit to developing the talent base across the island in order to meet future demands, grow both Ireland and Northern Ireland’s competitiveness globally, and provide greater support for clinical trials, IT investment and key specialists.”

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DAMOVO CONTINUES EXPANSION AFTER €1.5M INVESTMENT

DAMOVO CONTINUES EXPANSION AFTER €1.5M INVESTMENT

Damovo has invested €1.5 million in training, systems and software development whereupon it brings the total number of countries supported from Ireland to 76, which makes the Irish Global Centre of Excellence one ot the busiest in the Damovo Group. Key region managed include Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In addition Damovo’s Services business is also managed from Ireland
Damovo’s Global Services business is also managed from Ireland. It is basically concentrated on providing services for leading international systems integrators including HP, Verizon, BT, Telefonica and Singtel.

The company is proactively managing the communications needs of over 700 national and international customer sites from its Irish Network Operations Centre (NOC), including one of the world’s largest FMCG organisations and one of Europe’s top telecommunications companies.

This will increase by a further 300 sites by the end of 2016. Support is provided round-the-clock by a customer service team who can call on a pool of over 120 networking specialists from other national and regional centres of excellence.

In addition to its global services operations in Ireland, Damovo’s Irish business has also had a very positive year, with positive momentum continuing into 2017.

This local market success mirrors Damovo’s upbeat international performance, which saw group revenue increase 12% to €92M in the last financial year.

Managing Director at Damovo Global Services and Ireland, John McCabe said, “We have had a strong year, with growth boosted by a number of key new customer wins both here in Ireland and through our Damovo Global Services business.”

He added, “Our strategic investments in technical and sales resources across the Group are enabling us to build a high performance business here and this reinvigoration has delivered a marked turnaround in all aspects of our operations. We are very excited about the future.”

 

Damovo is an established European-based, global technology services firm with over 40 years’ experience in the ICT industry. We deliver services on behalf of Systems Integrators, IT Service Providers, and enterprises located around the world.

Damovo Global Services is the go-to partner for U.S. and North American-based enterprises and technology providers who need service delivery support in markets around the wor

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BDO Development Capital Fund Invests €9M in Netwatch Group as Part of €19.5M Funding Round

BDO Development Capital Fund Invests €9M in Netwatch Group as Part of €19.5M Funding Round

Funds are one utility to increase international growth as Netwatch targets new customer acqusition in the US & UK.

Ireland’a leading high tech security specialist, Netwatch Group got an investment of more than €9million from the BDO Development as part of a €19.5M Funding Round, which is the largest of its five investments so far, with Bank of Ireland providing €10.5million debt financing. Additionally, it is the largest funding round in Netwatch to date.

Netwatch was incorporated in Carlow in 2003 by co-founders and joint owners of the Company, David Walsh (CEO) and Niall Kelly (CTO).

The funds will be used to support Netwatch’s international growth strategy.  New customer acquisition in the US and the UK markets is a key aspect of the investment.  As part of the Investment Sinead Heaney, Investment Director of Development Capital has joined the Netwatch Board. The project is also supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland’s investment in the BDO Development Capital Fund.

Netwatch deploys the most advanced video processing technologies to proactively monitor and protect their clients’ assets. This involves installing high quality security cameras coupled with its intelligent software to detect suspicious events at its customer’s sites.  Intervention Specialists direct operations remotely from the Netwatch Communication Hub, visually verifying the intruders and intervene as soon as security is breached by verbally alerting the intruders they are being watched with a personalised warning.

Netwatch is experiencing significant demand for its services in all of its active markets driven by:

  • The size of the UK and US markets;
  • Demand for real-time response systems;
  • Pressure from first responders to reduce false alarms;
  • Regulatory developments;
  • Insurance pressure to reduce liabilities

Announcing the Fund’s investment in the Netwatch Group,

Investment Director of The BDO Development Capital Fund, Andrew Bourg, commented:

“We are delighted to partner with Netwatch and look forward to supporting and assisting them achieve Netwatch’s international growth objectives.  The Netwatch Group, led by its ambitious management team, has proven itself as a premium provider of remote video monitoring and security systems both domestically and internationally.  It now has significant and exciting growth opportunities to further scale internationally, which is what the BDO Development Capital Fund is designed to both accelerate and support.”

Netwatch Group Chief Executive, David Walsh, said:

“In the middle of the recession, we focused on research and development and expanding the business internationally. This funding announcement is validation of that decision and also lays the ground work for the next three years. The Netwatch value proposition is well received in the USA and this investment will enable us to capitalise on the great opportunity that the US presents. We are confident that we can double the size of the company over the next three years.”

Enterprise Ireland CEO, Julie Sinnamon, commented:

“A key role of Enterprise Ireland is to help companies innovate and scale internationally. We are delighted with the investment by the Fund into Netwatch.  This is exactly the type of investment that our Development Capital Scheme was set up to make, which is to provide our client companies with the funding to reach the next level of scale.  Enterprise Ireland has supported Netwatch through funding and participation in stock exchange IPO programme.  The investment fund will enable company to further expand in global markets.”

Donal Duffy, Director, Corporate Banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland said: 

“We are delighted to partner with the BDO Development Capital Fund in providing long-term financing to the Netwatch Group, a leading international technology company at the forefront of security surveillance.  Bank of Ireland has a proven track record in supporting Irish businesses with global reach and we are delighted to continue our relationship with Netwatch to help achieve its future ambitions.”

Netwatch were advised by EY and William Fry while Eversheds acted for Development Capital.

 
The BDO Development Capital Fund is a €75 million Fund aimed at investing development and growth capital in established, mid-sized and profitable companies to support and accelerate their export growth plans.

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Enterprise Ireland to implement plans to help Irish exporters following UK decision to leave the EU

Enterprise Ireland to implement plans to help Irish exporters following UK decision to leave the EU

The enhancement of the UK market supports as well as the support of management and competitiveness  and the market expansion are the key measures of the implementation plans.

In a minimum of a two-years period while trade agreements are negotiated, exporters reminded. Managing potential currency exchange impacts a key priority for Irish exporters.

Enterprise Ireland has said that the UK’s vote to leave the EU will present significant new challenges for Irish companies exporting to the UK, and announced that it is immediately implementing its plans to support these companies.  Therefore itclude steps to help companies maintain their UK presence while also diversifying into other international markets.

Enterprise Ireland said that in the immediate term, the key impact on Irish exporters is likely to be around exchange rate volatility and that companies as a first step should seek financial advice relating to hedging and managing associated risks.  It also said that it would be intensifying its efforts to support companies respond to the new situation and implement medium term market diversification plans.

Enterprise Ireland outlined some of its plans to support clients including:

  1. Information and Guidance
  2. Market Diversification Supports
  3. International Sector Clustering Strategy
  4. UK In-Market Supports
  5. Competitiveness and Market Development Supports

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said: “The UK is a key market for Irish exporters and will continue to be one of our largest export markets. Ireland is a strong, open and competitive economy and while the result will pose challenges for Irish exporters, now that it is known, we will move forward and implement plans to help our client companies deal with the impacts.

“In addition to our team in the UK, we have put in place a dedicated email address, phone-line and team for Enterprise Ireland clients to respond to their immediate concerns and issues.

“It is worth remembering that there will be a period of at least two years while negotiations take place between the EU and the UK about the specific trade implications. Furthermore the UK Prime Minister has indicated that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will not be invoked immediately. In this period Enterprise Ireland will continue to work with our clients to help them develop a more competitive position in the UK, and also to diversify into other growth markets including the USA, Northern Europe and Asia Pacific, all of which experienced significant growth in 2015. We will be closely monitoring the situation over the coming days and responding appropriately to our client needs,” concluded Sinnamon.

 

Enterprise Ireland Supports

  1. Information and Guidance: Enterprise Ireland will run an information campaign including: practical guides, online information and webinars, an updated UK market access guide and regional seminars in Ireland and the UK. These will provide guidance on issues including: the implications of trading with the UK, improving competitiveness, reducing supply chain costs, accessing funding, finance, foreign exchange, employment regulations and legal issues. There is also a dedicated email address: UKExportHelp@enterprise-ireland.com; an Enterprise Ireland helpline: +353 1 727 2727 and a dedicated webpage at www.enterprise-ireland.com/UKExportHelp.
  2. Market Diversification Support: Enterprise Ireland will intensify its strategy of supporting clients to diversify into new markets. As part of this strategy, Enterprise Ireland will provide increased internationalisation supports to assist client companies to evaluate new market opportunities. It will also intensify its International Trade Mission schedule for the rest of 2016 to include trade missions to Northern Europe, USA, China, India and other high growth markets. Enterprise Ireland will also host an International Markets week in the first week of October in Ireland, to provide Irish exporters with access to its overseas market advisors.
  3. International Sector Clustering Strategy: Enterprise Ireland will expand its focus on promoting Irish sectoral cluster capabilities to international buyers in growth markets including Northern Europe, USA and Asia Pacific in key sectors such as construction, manufacturing, financial services, software, innovation, BPO and food. There will also be sectorally-focused buyer engagements in Ireland and in-market in the coming months to connect Enterprise Ireland clients to growth opportunities.
  4. UK Market Support: Enterprise Ireland’s UK team, based in London, will provide support to clients to help identify key business opportunities in the short and medium terms. They will also provide advice and support on responding to the implications such as improving competitiveness and reducing supply chain costs.
  5. Competitiveness and Market Development supports: Enterprise Ireland will intensify its work with clients exporting to the UK by providing support to improve their competitiveness in the market through its management capability and development programmes.

 

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment. You can find detailed information on Enterprise Ireland’s activities, strategy and performance in our Reports and Publications.

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APC pharma opens new Dublin research facility with 100 new jobs announced

APC pharma opens new Dublin research facility with 100 new jobs announced

Pharmaceutical research giant APC is to open its new headquarters in Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin, with 100 new high-skill jobs to be created over the next 18 months.

Having been formed in 2011 by Prof Brian Glennon and Dr Mark Barrett from the school of chemical and bioprocess engineering in University College Dublin, APC officially opened its 6,000sqm premises at a launch last Monday (15 February).

Aside from being the company’s headquarters, the building will also be APC’s highly-advanced process research facility for biopharmaceuticals in the processes of informatics and other advanced analytical means, to help streamline the development of their medicines in various fields, including cancer and HIV.

The company is looking for a range of different talents for its new positions, including chemical engineering, bioprocessing engineering, scientists, analysts and statisticians as well as finance and HR.

APC is already working with eight out of the top 10 biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and five out of the top 10 largest biotech firms. It has predicted that, by 2020, 80pc of its services will be aimed at exporting to foreign markets, which will increase its revenues from its current level of €15m per annum to €50m.

Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Laboratory Equipment News, Medical Research, News, R&D Investment, R&D News0 Comments

Grant Engineering to create 50 jobs with new innovation centre

Grant Engineering to create 50 jobs with new innovation centre

Irish manufacturing firm Grant Engineering is to create 50 full and part-time jobs at its facility in Birr, Co Offaly as part of a €7m expansion. The new positions will include operative and engineering roles, which are supported by Enterprise Ireland.

The expansion includes a new innovation centre, a customer services unit and a training school. Building works is set to commence in the coming months with completion of the investment programme over the next two years, according to the firm.

Commenting on the announcement, Grant Engineering Founder Stephen Grant said :

“Over the past recent years we have continued to grow our business and this investment will allow us to continue to increase capacity and expand into new markets and to develop new products. It also reinforces our commitment to innovation, the local community and the local economy.”

Grant Engineering, which is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of domestic oil-fired boilers in the country, employs over 320 people in Ireland and 70 in the UK during peak season.

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