Neurent Medical’s Brian Shields named Founder of the Year

Galway start-up is developing a medical device to treat rhinitis in offices not surgeries

Brian Shields of Neurent Medical has been announced as high-potential start-up Founder of the Year 2019 at Enterprise Ireland’s awards. To the left is  Kevin Sherry of Enterprise Ireland and to the right is Kevin Foley of  Grant Thornton. Photograph:  Orla Murray

Brian Shields of Neurent Medical has been announced as high-potential start-up Founder of the Year 2019 at Enterprise Ireland’s awards. To the left is Kevin Sherry of Enterprise Ireland and to the right is Kevin Foley of Grant Thornton. Photograph: Orla Murray

 

Brian Shields, founder of Galway medical device start-up Neurent Medical, has been named as Enterprise Ireland’s high potential start-up Founder of the Year.

Mr Shields was presented with the award at an event in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

The Founder of the Year award is meant to acknowledge and celebrate the commitment that entrepreneurs and start-ups have made to build world-class companies of the future.

There were nine finalists for this year’s awards, all of whom were voted for by more than 200 peers who participated in the State body’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Founders Forum.

Other finalists included Gilian Doyle of Cerebreon Technologies, Brendan Sheppard of SmartFactory, Declan Soden of Mirai Medical, Ollie Walsh of Pip iT, Rob Leslie, of Sedicii, Aisling Teillard of Tandem HR Solutions, Pat Kirby of Tixserve and Rafael Pages of Volograms.

Neurent Medical, which is based in Oranmore, Co Galway, was founded by Mr Shields and David Townley as a spinout from the BioInnovate Ireland programme at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Inflammatory disease

The company, which last year raised €9.3 million in a series-A round, is focused on developing a medical device that would allow doctors treat patients with rhinitis in their offices, rather than in a surgical setting.

Rhinitis is an inflammatory disease of the nose – leading to congestion and rhinorrhoea or runny nose – which is reported to affect up to 40 per cent of the population, making it the fifth-most common chronic disease in the United States. Neurent estimates that rhinitis accounts for $15 billion (€12.9 billion) in direct healthcare costs per year, mostly in prescription medication.

The Founder of the Year winner was decided by a judging panel which included representatives from Enterprise Ireland, Ergo, Grant Thornton, Google and Atlantic Bridge.

Previous winners of the award, now in its third year, are Tony McEnroe, chief executive of UCD spin-out company SiriusXT; and John Ghent from data protection specialist Sytorus.