Vascular surgical device wins the Clinical Innovation Award 2014

Monday 15 December 2014 

Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic

L-R, Mr. Gary Fingerhut; Dr. Cliona Murphy; Dr. Keith O’Neill.
L-R, Mr. Gary Fingerhut; Dr. Cliona Murphy; Dr. Keith O’Neill.

Irish Clinician to work with Cleveland Clinic to develop improved outcomes from vascular surgery

A device with potential to improve the outcomes from vascular surgery has won the Clinical Innovation Award 2014, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland in association with Cleveland Clinic. The winner, Dr. Cliona Murphy, a General Practitioner and current participant in the BioInnovate programme in National University of Ireland Galway, collaborated with colleagues to identify a technology that will make it easier for doctors to access the body during vascular surgery, and potentially improve outcomes for patients as a result.

Extending his congratulations to Dr. Murphy, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said, ‘Life sciences is a key part of our Action Plan for Jobs, and since taking office we have put in place a range of measures to support more Irish companies in this area. Dr. Murphy’s vascular surgical device is another great example of the brilliant ideas and businesses that are emerging every year from collaborative research with our Higher Education Institutions. I am delighted to congratulate her on this award, and look forward to working with her in the future”.

The Clinical Innovation Award, now in its 4th year, recognises commercial potential in Ireland’s clinical community, encouraging clinicians to engage in the development of new healthcare products and services that will improve patient care and benefit both the health care system and Ireland’s medical technologies companies.

Commenting on the awards, Damien English T.D. Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation said “the commercialisation of clinical knowledge and expertise is an important activity which the Government has supported through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund”.

Dr. Murphy will receive a grant of €15,000 and the opportunity to work with Cleveland Clinic and Enterprise Ireland to further develop the commercial potential of this innovative technology.

The announcement was made at the Medical Technology Industry Excellence awards in Limerick. This event, sponsored by the Irish Medical Devices Association, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, celebrates excellence from both companies and academic institutions across the Medical Technology sector in Ireland.

Dr. Murphy and her collaborators have identified an inexpensive and simple solution to the problems associated with access during certain vascular surgical procedures.  This device can be used with a number of different procedures that are used to restore proper heart function such as aortic repair and aortic valve replacement. Approximately 150,000 such procedures take place per year worldwide and this solution has the potential to reduce associated complication rates. The device is designed to facilitate the use of a less invasive approach of needle puncture instead of incision, and to improve access for surgeons during the procedure, which can lead to better outcomes.

Announcing the winner, Gary Fingerhut, Executive Director, at Cleveland Clinic Innovations, said:  ‘A simple, low cost device with the potential to improve patient outcomes from complex vascular procedures would be an exciting development in the field. Cleveland Clinic has consistently ranked top in the US for cardiology and heart surgery, providing excellent opportunities for Cliona to engage with world leading clinicians to validate the commercial potential of this innovation. We look forward to working with Cliona and her collaborators”

Dr. Keith O’Neill, Director of Life Science and Food Commercialisation in Enterprise Ireland, said: ‘The winning innovation complements the strengths that both Cleveland Clinic and Irish MedTech companies have in the cardiovascular space.  The opportunity for early validation with a world renowned medical centre ensures that the next generation of innovations will be designed to address the unmet needs of the clinical community, resulting in new products and services that can be commercialised through Irish medical technology companies.  Cliona is currently a fellow of BioInnovate, a specialist medical device innovation training programme, modelled on the prestigious Stanford BioDesign programme, that is supported by Enterprise Ireland. She is one of an increasing number of clinicians that is straddling the clinical and business environments and this is a trend that Enterprise Ireland is keen to facilitate. ‘

The award also recognised two runner-up awardees.

Dr. Marcus Kennedy is a consultant Respiratory physician and interventional pulmonologist with Cork University Hospital, who collaborated with University College Cork under their Biomedical Design module for a solution to increase efficiencies in endoscopy procedures. The proposed solution will free up staff time during endoscopy procedures, and with more than 20 million endoscopy procedures being carried out in the US alone, this could result in substantial benefits. 

Dr. Aamir Hameed, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon and currently a clinician scientist with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, is developing a solution with colleagues in RCSI of safer paediatric treatments for cancer. Side effects, and in particular cardiotoxicty, is associated with current cancer treatments for paediatric patients, thus limiting treatment options. This solution has the potential to address the safety profile of these treatments, and therefore improve the quality of life and life expectancy for these patients.

These clinicians will both receive Feasibility Funding from Enterprise Ireland to investigate the commercial potential of their ideas.

Notes for Editors 

For more information contact:

Grace Labanyi

Enterprise Ireland
Communications Officer

+353 1 7272746 

+353 87 3286404

Grace Labanyi


More details on the Enterprise Ireland - Cleveland Clinic Clinical Innovation Award 2014

The award supports clinicians and healthcare professionals in Ireland in developing the commercial potential of their innovative ideas, leading to new healthcare products and services that will improve patient care, and benefit both the health care system and Ireland’s medical technologies sector. It is assessed and awarded in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, who works with Enterprise Ireland to look at the commercial feasibility of the winning idea. This is the 4th Clinical Innovation Award; the inaugural award was in 2011. See www.enterprise-ireland.com/clinical


About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit multi-specialty academic medical centre that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey and their heart and heart surgery program has ranked No.1 since 1995. 3000+ full-time salaried physicians and researchers represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. There are 5.5 million patient visits per year throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,097 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic

ENDS