Minister Richard Bruton welcomes investment and new jobs in Limerick-based genetics company GenCell Biosystems

09 October 2012 - Pioneering research and development by a new Limerick based Irish genetics company, GenCell Biosystems, has achieved major recognition from an international syndicate of investors and Enterprise Ireland in a €2.7m / USD $3.5m seed funding round which will now see the company continue to expand its international operations.

Dr. Kieran Curran, founder and CEO of Limerick based GenCell Biosystems, pictured with Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, T.D.
Dr. Kieran Curran, founder and CEO of Limerick based GenCell Biosystems, pictured with Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Minister Richard Bruton, T.D.  

Founded by its CEO, Dr. Kieran Curran, GenCell has developed a highly advanced genetic analysis technology that addresses key life science challenges.   It has prototyped a new ‘Composite Liquid Cell’ diagnostic system.  Thismirrors nature by performing molecular biology within inert synthetic cells.  The GenCell system uses microfluidic processes and special light wavelengths to automatically analyse DNA profiles and to predict future growth outcomes in individual cells.  

GenCell currently employs 29 staff - mainly PhDs and postgraduates in areas including molecular biology, engineering, software and business management.  The company has established an 18,000 sq ft facility at Raheen in Limerick.  It will recruit a further 20 highly qualified staff and also intends establishing an operation in the United States in the current year.  GenCell has also formally filed US patent applications and plans to enter full commercial production of its technologies by 2014.

Until now, this type of analysis process has typically involved an intensive use of multiple resources.  GenCell’s new system brings the various stages of genetic analysis into a single process.  It also allows users to massively increase the quantity and speed of data processed in the genetic DNA analysis of biological samples at an unprecedented rate.

With initial applications proving successful in the field of plant and animal related diagnostics, the company has already gained a number of major international customers.

The success of this first funding round was welcomed today by Jobs, Enterprise and Employment Minister, Richard Bruton, T.D., who said:  “A core aim of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to significantly grow and expand our Health and Life Science sector.  To this end we need to implement changes to assist the commercialisation of innovative ideas that will lead to quality jobs for this economy, and we are following through on this with for example the establishment of a Healthcare Innovation Hub to bring companies and the healthcare system together to develop new products which can create jobs. 

“GenCell Biosystems is a great example of a knowledge-intensive, high-value and export-oriented company attracting funding, expanding and creating jobs in a regional location.  Today’s announcement shows what is possible in this area, and I am determined through continued implementation of the Government’s plan to see more companies like this establishing, expanding and creating the jobs we need,” said the Minister.

Lisa Vaughan, Department Manager, Enterprise Ireland Scaling Team, said: “GenCell Biosystems is an ambitious, innovative Irish company that has secured several key multinational partners due to their breakthrough technology and the quality of their product and team.  Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with the company since its foundation in 2011 and looks forward to continuing to support their investment and helping them to win new business contracts and create high value jobs.”

GenCell Founder and CEO, Dr. Kieran Curran said:   “The technological and diagnostic advances that we are now involved in are bound to have an enormous impact in future years.  This investment in GenCell will enable us to expand more quickly into our key markets and offers us the opportunity to be one of the leading international companies in this field.  We have already proven the accuracy and effectiveness of our systems which have garnered strong commercial interest to date.  Our technology represents a unique and significant step forward and it will form an important new resource for the molecular biology industry.”

 

About GenCell

GenCell Biosystems provides the molecular biology industry with robust, high performance systems to perform genetics faster and cheaper than is currently possible. GenCell’s platform Composite Liquid Cell technology mirrors nature by performing molecular biology within inert synthetic cells. These cells are an ideal environment to perform biological chemistry and can be integrated into many different instrument configurations. The company works with international clients to develop high-performance genetics instrumentation.

Dr. Kieran Curran: Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Kieran Curran founded GenCell Biosystems, a spin-off of his privately owned company Curran Scientific, in early 2011.  After graduating with a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Limerick in 2005, Dr. Curran worked for three years as a Lead Engineer at Stokes Bio, where he is a recognised inventor of Stokes’ core Liquid Bridge technology – a novel high-throughput assaying technology.

In 2008, Dr. Curran established Curran Scientific, a high-tech, contract R&D company.  In 2010, through the work of Curran Scientific, he identified opportunities to develop a novel microfluidic technology that would address key life sciences challenges.  This, in turn, led to the development of Composite Liquid Cell technology and led Dr. Curran to establish GenCell Biosystems.

For further information, please contact:

Tim Kinsella,
MKC Communications
Tel. 086 813 7512