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NovaUCD spin-out NanobOx wins 'One to Watch Award' at Enterprise Ireland's 2022 Big Ideas Showcase

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Dr John Favier and Dr Mohammad Ghaani of NovaUCD spin-out NanobOx were presented with the “One to Watch Award” at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2022 showcase event yesterday evening (Thursday, 24 November) in Croke Park Dublin.

Now in its 14th year, Enterprise Ireland held the 2022 Big Ideas pitch event in front of a live audience in Croke Park as well as a virtual audience online.

NanobOx was one of 12 investor-ready start-up companies to pitch their new technology solutions to investors at the annual showcase of start-up innovation emerging from higher education institutes. The Big Ideas pitch teams were competing for the One to Watch Award, which was decided by a judging panel.

NanobOx was pitched by Dr John Favier, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of the start-up. Favier founded NanobOx along with Dr Mohammad Ghaani. They have developed a highly energy-efficient technology to oxygenate water using nanobubbles. Many commercial bioprocesses require oxygen levels in process waters to be consistently maintained. This can be a significant operating cost for a process that can be critical to productivity.

In aquaculture, or the farming of fish stocks, for example, the energy cost of oxygenation can be the second highest expense after feed. It can represent 60pc to 70pc of operating costs in biological wastewater treatment.

Generating nanobubbles is particularly energy intensive, but with novel, patented technology NanobOx has managed to reduce the energy required to do so. Its nanobubble generators can be solar or battery-powered, and with no moving parts they are easy to clean and maintain. The company claims its technology is highly scalable and can oxygenate water at high flowrates.

A “Viewers’ Choice Award” was also presented to Robert Wylie of Fada Medical, which is on a mission to improve insulin delivery for people living with type 1 diabetes. To do this, Fada Medical has developed a novel diffusion technology that can extend the wear-time of infusion-set cannulas, supporting consistent long-term insulin pump use.

The selected pitch teams each had just three minutes to promote their innovations and business propositions to an invited in person and online audience made up of the Irish research and investment communities and the wider start-up ecosystem.

Other Big Ideas at this year’s event included innovations which address a wide range of issues, including an injectable gel treatment to give superior relief and protection from knee osteoarthritis, AI-powered video summarisation, a wearable medical device to treat dry and sore eyes, and a way to categorise transaction data to determine carbon hotspots and provide recommendations to lower carbon emissions.

Full details on the event are available at


Notes to editor:

Other Big Ideas 2022 included:

Darwin & Goliath: a Trinity College spin-out from the ADAPT research centre provides carbon calculators that categorise transaction data to determine carbon hotspots and provide recommendations to lower carbon emissions. The technology enables companies to calculate and ultimately reduce emissions in procurement by comparing vendors and displaying emissions information to end customers. Promoter: Eamonn Donlyn.

giyst: An emerging UCD start-up, giyst is using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning to create video summaries to tackle the issues of information overload and shortening attention spans for business, education and other markets. The aim is to repurpose content to drive better engagement and discovery. Promoter: Avril Power.

Infraprint: From medical implants to aircraft engine parts, 3D printing is defining the next industrial revolution. Infraprint’s technology enables the 3D printing of engineering plastics stronger than any system on the market, empowering companies to manufacture high strength, lightweight, customised parts in a cost and time efficient way. This digital technology is leading the way to a sustainable, reliable and energy efficient production process for small batch components, from Aerospace to pharmaceuticals and beyond. Promoter: Andrew Dickson.

Lia Therapeutics: Following needs-led research conducted during the BioInnovate Fellowship Programme at University of Galway and a Commercialisation Fund at UCD , Lia Therapeutics has developed NightleafTM, its drug-free, wearable medical device to treat dry and sore eyes. Promoter: Sinead Buckley.

OPEnS: Dr Conor Lynch, a research fellow & group lead at Nimbus research centre in MTU, has developed a solution for automating energy savings. The company OEPnS has a grid-connected smart network system encompassing energy market-tracking tariff prediction technologies that has the capacity to optimise based on energy cost, carbon emissions or both simultaneously. Promotor: Conor Lynch.

Pumpinheart: Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) spin-out company Pumpinheart has prototyped a transcatheter implantable diastolic heart pump ‘PReduction’ to treat advanced stage Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction. The management team is mix of clinical, engineering and start-up expertise. Prior to joining RCSI, CMO Dr Aamir Hameed was a cardiothoracic surgeon. CEO Donald Hickey is an experienced EdTech and MedTech entrepreneur and CTO, Dr Andrew Malone is a medical physicist. Promoter: Donald Hickey.

ReleviumBio: Having previously managed projects for large multinationals such as ROCHE, Boston Scientific and Cook Medical, Dr Alison Liddy, Co-Founder of ReleviumBio has developed an injectable gel treatment to give superior relief and protection from knee osteoarthritis. The company is targeting knee osteoarthritis as a first clinical indication and plan to extend the treatment indications to target other joints affected by osteoarthritis, where the same treatment problems exist. Promotor: Alison Liddy.

TiLT (Transformation in Learning and Training): For organisations operating in an environment of diversity – this does not necessarily equal inclusion. TiLT has created a training solution to make diverse organisations more inclusive that focuses not on individual unconscious bias training but on shifting the norms around social interaction in the organisation. Promotor: Anne Holohan.

UniDoodle: has created a digital tool that addresses the problem of student disengagement in class-based learning - a Student Response System that understands students like never before. The Promotor Denise O’Grady is a serial entrepreneur in the EdTech domain, having founded Way2Pay a FinTech / EdTech start-up in 2013 and successfully exiting in 2019 selling to Evo Payments, a USA based, quoted company. Promoter: Denise O’Grady.

Vzarii: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a neurodegenerative retinal disease affecting up to 10% of adults over 65 years. Vzarii has developed innovative platform gene therapies that target late-stage dry AMD. The Vzarii gene therapy technologies are the result of pioneering research from the Farrar team at the School of Genetics and Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin. Promotor: Loretto Callaghan.

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