120 'Big Ideas' Unveiled - from Better Hospital Hygiene to Avoiding Brain Damage in Babies

Minister Sean Sherlock presents Awards to new companies

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock today [Monday 10 October, 2011] announced that 120 inventions developed by publicly-funded researchers will be introduced to potential investors at the Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas Technology Showcase 2011 in the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Pictured at the Big Ideas Technology Showcase are Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation (right) and Feargal O Morain, Enterprise Ireland (left) with Dr. Denis O’Mahony, Consultant Geriatrician at University College Hospital Cork (centre) whose research team was awarded an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Award

Pictured at the Big Ideas Technology Showcase are Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation (right) and Feargal O Morain, Enterprise Ireland (left) with Dr. Denis O’Mahony, Consultant Geriatrician at University College Hospital Cork (centre) whose research team was awarded an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Award. The team of clinicians, pharmacists and computer scientists at UCC developed a prescriptions screening tool around Stopp-Start technology.  Stopp-Start can reduce the incidence of adverse reactions to drugs for older patients on multiple medications. It will also reduce prescriptions costs for the healthcare systems as it will help avoid medicines being incorrectly prescribed. The StoppStart technology is at the heart of a new company Clinicial Support Information Systems Ltd which was established in 2009 and is now located in Limerick.

Opening the event and announcing the winners of the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards, Minister Sherlock said;

“It is exciting, highly encouraging and very promising for the future to see such a range of high end technologies emerging from publicly-funded research. I am delighted to see that many of the Big Ideas being presented to the investor community today have the potential to become vibrant new companies.

“Enterprise Ireland and the Higher Education Institutes working together have built 185 spin-out companies from State-funded research to date. Besides creating jobs, it is uplifting to see that many of the “Big Ideas” can help people here in Ireland and across the globe with health and lifestyle issues.

“These discoveries and this process of commercialisation is vital to job creation.  Although spin-out companies take time to grow, a recent sample assessment of these spin-out companies showed that some 12 companies are now employing a total of more than 250 people. One of the best examples is FeedHenry Waterford, established in 2010, is already employing 27 people,” Minister Sherlock added.

The Big Ideas event is the largest annual gathering of inventors and investors in the country. 120 new technologies being developed for the marketplace, will be unveiled and, of these the promoters of 18 ‘investor ready’ technologies will be vying for the attention of 200 potential investors attending the event. The “Big Ideas” Showcase is a key event funded by the Government to help develop publicly-funded research into new companies, technologies and services.

Among the ‘Big Ideas’ being pitched to potential investors are technologies that will;

  • avoid brain damage in premature babies caused by seizures,
  • help physiotherapy patients perform their exercises properly,
  • provide ‘real’ learning material for students of the English language,
  • produce manufacturing moulds for the smallest medical devices, -pick up the 1 in 5 cases of colon cancer that are currently missed during screenings -cram more information on to existing telecoms bandwith to avoid laying new fibre optic  cables.

Feargal Ó Móráin, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland said: “the focus of the Big Ideas event is to get some deals done between the inventors and investors during the 150 one-to-one meetings which will take place.  Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Higher Education Institutes, is providing the right environment for investors to explore options to either licence these new technologies from researchers or use them as the basis to form new companies in the energy, life sciences, medical, engineering and IT sectors”.

While the Irish system for transferring technology from Third Level Education Institutes into industry is relatively new, the outputs compare favourably with the latest available data from the US and EU authorities in this area – Ireland is creating 4 spin-outs per $100m invested by the State compared to 2 in Europe and 1 in the US.

The Minister presented Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Awards to 3 companies that showcased their technologies at similar events in the past and have since successfully established a spin-out company. The winners are;

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland ICT commercialisation award:

Dr. Gerard Lacey who co-founded Glanta Ltd. in 2010, a spin-out from his research at Trinity College Dublin. Gerard invented the image processing technology on which the company’s hand hygiene training and assessment system – Surewash – is built.

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland Lifescience commercialisation award:

The team that has established Clinicial Support Information Systems Ltd – a UCC spin-out 2009 around StoppStart technology which is now located in Limerick. Stopp-Start is a screening tool of prescriptions for older people which can reduce the incidence of adverse reactions for patients on multiple medications. It will also reduce prescriptions costs for the healthcare systems as it will help avoid medicines being incorrectly prescribed.

Winner of the Enterprise Ireland industrial technologies commercialisation award:

Michael Cunningham, CEO Sonex Metrology Ltd., a DCU spin-out 2010 around photoacoustic testing equipment, located in DCU Invent. Sonex technology focuses on detecting mechanical defects in semiconductor and solar cell wafers that currently cost manufacturers millions of euro.

ENDS

Further details on the award winners

Dr. Gerard Lacey, Glanta Ltd. - winner of the Enterprise Ireland ICT commercialisation award.

Dr. Lacey is Co-founder, Director and Chief Technical Officer of Glanta Ltd. which is located in the Trinity Enterprise Centre. Gerry invented and developed the image processing IP which is at the heart of Glanta’s hand hygiene training and assessment system.

The system provides health care professionals with repeatable, real-time objective feedback on the effectiveness of their hand hygiene technique compared to the widely accepted World Health Organisation (WHO) hand wash protocol.

The WHO have identified hand hygiene as the single most important factor in the spread of healthcare Acquired Infections, which in the US alone kills 100,00 people and costs US BN$35-45 annually.

Glanta is successful testing and trialling the Surewash system in a number of hospitals here and abroad, including the Mater Private Hospital.

As well as creating the IP, Gerry has been instrumental and directly involved in all of the above commercialisation activities, which is what makes him an exemplary winner of the Enterprise Ireland ICT Commercialisation Award for 2011.

For more information on Glanta Ltd. please contact Sally-Anne Fisher, TCD press office FISHERS@tcd.ie Tel: 353.1.896 3606


Clinical Support Information Systems Ltd (CSIS) - winner of The Enterprise Ireland Lifescience & Food Commercialisation Award 2011

Clinical Support Information Systems Ltd (CSIS) is a company built around the STOPP-START technology developed at University College Cork by an inter-disciplinary group of clinicians, pharmacists and computer scientists. Gerry Moran, the CEO of CSIS, is working in partnership with the researchers, the UCC Technology Transfer Office and Enterprise Ireland to bring the STOPP-START to market.

The research team behind the technology which was developed with commercialisation funding from Enterprise Ireland are: Denis O'Mahony, Stephen Byrne, Sean Og Murphy, Cristin Ryan, Ken Brown and Cormac Sreenan.

STOPP/START is designed specifically with the older patient in mind and the particular medication problems encountered in this age group (older people consume about half of all prescription medicines in Ireland and Europe).

STOPP/START lists the common instances of potentially inappropriate medicines (STOPP list) and potential prescribing omissions (START list); the presence of STOPP medicines and the absence of START medicines may be highly detrimental to the older patient, in particular the frailer person with multiple chronic disorders. The UCC research team has successfully converted the STOPP/START rules to an electronic prototype which has very significant market potential as a tool for routine assessment of older people’s medication, with a view to optimization of drug therapy and avoidance of preventable side-effects. Drug-related morbidity and mortality are recognized internationally as a highly significant public health problem; STOPP/START provides one possible method for addressing the growing problem of medication-related morbidity and mortality in older people. The total addressable market for the STOPP-START technology is estimated to be €300 million in Europe and up to €1 billion globally.

CSIS is taking this technology to market by collaborating with IT providers in the healthcare sector targeting primary care, pharmacies and hospitals in export markets in the UK, Europe, USA and other jurisdictions.


Mike Cunningham, Sonex Metrology Ltdwinner of the Enterprise Ireland Industrial Technologies commercialisation award 2011

The team members are; Prof Patrick McNally, Mike Cunningham CEO, Dr.

Stephen Daniels, Fiachra Green, Dylan Fitzgerald.

Sonex Metrology have won this award for the exemplary way in which the team, led by Mike Cunningham, set about commercialising an idea emanating from the research of Prof Patrick McNally in DCU. Mike’s first exposure to the technology was in May 2010 when he evaluated the commercial potential of the technology on behalf of Enterprise Ireland. The technology impressed him and he subsequently pulled together and inspired a very effective spin-out team.  The team has spun-out of DCU and has successfully raised enough seed investment to enable the company to embark on productising their technology.

In a typical semiconductor fabrication plant, the manufacturing process to make one wafer takes 4-6 weeks but the product cannot be functionally tested until the last few days of that process. Quality control and process control are paramount since there is millions of Euro in work in progress in the Fab at any one time. A defect generated anywhere in the process, could cause millions of Euro of scrap.

The Sonex technology focuses on detecting mechanical defects in semiconductor and solar cell wafers that are likely to lead to catastrophic failures such as wafer breakage and delamination. There are other tools that can detect these defects, but, the Sonex photo-acoustic technology is unique since it is non-destructive, does not have to touch the wafer and can detect problems on the surface and deep in the silicon below opaque layers. These unique features allied to its low cost, make the technology eminently suitable and competitive for in-line process monitoring.

The company plans to productise the technology over the coming years. The initial product offering will be targeted at the semiconductor industry and will be a stand-alone instrument for detecting mechanical defects above and below the surface in silicon wafers.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Grace Labanyi
Enterprise Ireland
Communications Officer

Grace Labanyi
+353 1 7272746 
+353 87 3286404

Eileen Banks
Enterprise Ireland,
Press Officer

Eileen Banks
 01 7272805
087 2445814