Meningitis test firm raises €6.7m to fund expansion
Diagnostics group Hibergene plans to bring new tests to market and break into US
Brendan Farrell, chief executive of Hibergene Diagnostics: company is “grateful to our investors for providing the funding which will enable Hibergene to significantly expand both its range of diagnostic products and its global reach”. Photograph: Peter Houlihan
The company specialises in developing tests for infectious diseases using molecular technology. It secured European approval in December 2015 to market its meningitis test allowing doctors to confirm the potentially fatal bacterial meningitis within an hour.
Among those involved in the latest fundraising was Hibergene’s distributor for China, MedCaptain. The round also attracted small UK investors operating through the Enterprise Investment Scheme designed to support small, unlisted businesses and channelled through an online investment platform, the SyndicateRoom.
Hibergene plans to expand its research and development programmes and launch a number of new diagnostic tests this year in areas including flu, a respiratory virus that can occasionally prove threatening to babies and toddlers, and a form of drug-resistant pneumonia.
The company has four other tests already in the market alongside its meningitis diagnostic tool, covering areas like C Difficile and Streptococcus.
The Dublin-based business is also looking to ramp up its international network of distributors. Hibergene currently operates in 36 countries, using 24 separate distributors for its products. However, it has yet to break into the American market and plans to do so with some of the money now raised.
Founded in 2009, Hibergene raised €2.1 million in series-A funding back in early 2015 to allow it bring its meningitis test to market. That fundraising was led by Kernel Capital, with Enterprise Ireland also among the investors. The early-stage investors have put further money into the business in this latest fundraising.
Chief executive Brendan Farrell, who was previously chief executive at the listed Trinity Biotech, said the company was “grateful to our investors for providing the funding which will enable Hibergene to significantly expand both its range of diagnostic products and its global reach”.