20 June 2023 – Four Enterprise Ireland-backed companies have won funding approvals of up to €18m in the latest competition under Horizon Europe’s European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme. The four successful companies are Luminate Medical, Hooke Bio, BioSimulytics, and Celtic Biotech.
Enterprise Ireland leads the National Support Network for Horizon Europe which helps entrepreneurs to compete and win funding in EIC competitions. To date, Irish companies have secured approvals totalling €129m under the EIC Programme since the beginning of Horizon Europe in 2021.
Galway-based Luminate Medical is a healthcare technology company that builds devices to prevent and control the side effects of cancer treatment. Luminate, a University of Galway spin-out company, is pioneering the development of Lily, a device to prevent chemotherapy-induced hair loss in a comfortable and portable way.
Hooke Bio has developed a unique ultra-high-throughput screening microfluidic platform that will allow improved drug screening at the crucial early drug discovery phase. Hooke Bio spun out from University of Limerick in 2017 and is currently based in Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland.
BioSimulytics is developing a next-generation digital platform for faster, more accurate and more predictable drug development. Biosimulytics, which is headquartered at NovaUCD in Dublin, is a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company that was founded in 2019.
Dublin-based Celtic Biotech is developing novel drug therapies for the treatment of solid cancers and pain in humans. These product candidates have the potential to increase survival, improve quality of life and reduce treatment costs for cancer patients.
Part of the EU’s Horizon Europe 2021-2027 Research and Innovation Programme, the EIC Accelerator Programme provides transformational funding to high-potential, high-risk start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs. Approvals include grant funding of up to €2.5 million combined with an equity investment ranging from €0.5 to €15 million in a blended finance offer.
Over 550 applications were submitted with 139 companies subsequently selected for interview resulting in a total of 51 funding awards to 17 countries. The 51 companies allocated funding will together receive up to €261m in a combination of grants and equity investments.
While 15 of the 51 companies (almost 30%) have a female CEO, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CSO (Chief Scientific Officer), half of the successful Irish companies have a female co-founder or C-level executive.
Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “Today’s announcement is an endorsement of the wealth and depth of innovation arising out of the Irish research ecosystem. The funding allotted to these projects will allow them to continue to develop and streamline their product offering, helping to further elevate Ireland’s status as a global leader in healthcare solutions. BioSimulytics, Hooke Bio and Luminate Medical are third level spin-outs that were previously supported by Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund. The success of the four companies in this call reflects the direct support they receive at different stages of their journey from our research commercialisation, EIC, High Potential Start-Up and sector teams. Furthermore, it is particularly welcome to see that half of the successful projects have a female inclusive leadership team which supports Enterprise Ireland’s strategic ambition to increase the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership.”
Aaron Hannon, Co-Founder & CEO, Luminate Medical said: “This funding is a clear recognition of the scale of the unmet clinical needs in the cancer care space, like hair loss, that have such an impact on the day-to-day lives of people living with cancer. Having been evaluated by expert panels at several stages, this is also a major endorsement of our team and our approach. We look forward to continued partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the EIC in our shared mission of helping patients to live through and after cancer – not just survive.”
Mark Lyons, CEO, Hooke Bio said: “Hooke Bio’s Mera platform will be transformative for the drug development process. Our success in the EIC accelerator will allow us to bring this to market faster enabling us to have a positive impact on the lives of patients throughout the world. Enterprise Ireland have played a key role in supporting us on this journey from its very inception.”
Peter F Doyle, CEO & Co-Founder, BioSimulytics Limited said: “Today’s announcement is truly a game changer for the global scaling of our unique pharmatech platform. For too long now, the process of getting from molecules to medicines in the pharmaceutical industry has been far too slow and expensive, with low success rates. The BioSimulytics platform, which combines AI neural networks, quantum physics and high-performance computing technologies to accurately simulate and predict the crystal structures of molecules, addresses a major headache and bottleneck in the drug development process and promises to dramatically improve the speed, cost and success of bringing new medicines to market to help save millions of lives worldwide. The EIC funding will make all the difference in achieving our full value potential by growing our team, our customer base and our revenues, accelerating our product roadmap and our time-to-market, and becoming fully investor-ready over the next few years. We are already a High Potential Start-Up client of Enterprise Ireland and their experience and guidance was a key factor in our EIC success, and their continued support is greatly appreciated.”
Dr. Paul Reid, CEO at Celtic Biotech said: “We are grateful for this grant award from the European Commission, which is a major validation of our business and product strategy and is in alignment with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. Celtic Biotech was founded, and our innovative biologic products developed, to address pain and disease progression in cancer patients with very poor prognosis. Our clinical programme is presently targeting the huge unmet need for patients suffering late-stage non-small cell lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer related deaths. The EIC Accelerator Funding will enable us to complete Phase I of the clinical trials. We’d also like to thank Enterprise Ireland for its endorsement and guiding hand and look forward to their continued support.”
European Innovation Council – Horizon Europe
The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular start-ups and spin-out companies to develop and scale up game-changing innovations. In some cases, small mid-caps (up to 500 employees) are supported.
The EIC Accelerator provides substantial financial support with:
- grant funding (non-dilutive) of up to €2.5 million for innovation development costs
- investments (direct equity investments) of up to €15 million managed by the EIC Fund for scale up and other relevant costs.
In addition, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.
The EIC Programme now also includes EIC Pathfinder for earlier stage development of future technologies as well as EIC Transition for taking the next steps towards technical and commercial validation. Both of these programmes are upstream of the EIC Accelerator programme and have their own eligibility criteria.
The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from start-ups and SMEs with female CEOs.
For further information on EIC opportunities, contact EIC National Delegate Sean Burke and EIC National Contact Point James Walsh. A directory to the Horizon Europe National Support Network team led by Enterprise Ireland can be found here.
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Enterprise Ireland Press Office