Four EI-backed companies awarded total of €23m in European funding

InVera Medical, Loci Orthopaedics, Selio Medical and Ovagen in line for funding from EIC accelerator programme

EIC funding winners

Four Enterprise Ireland-backed companies are in line for a total of €23 million in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme.

Galway based InVera Medical and Loci Orthopaedics; Selio Medical, based in Dublin; and Ovagen, based in Mayo, were among the successful companies in the March 2022 call of the accelerator programme, which saw 74 companies from 18 European countries selected to receive a total of €382 million in funding. More than 1,000 companies applied for the accelerator, with a shortlist of more than 260 selected.

The accelerator supports high-potential, high-risk start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to develop innovations, providing grant funding of up to €2.5 million for innovation development costs and direct-equity investments of up to €15 million, managed by the EIC Fund for scale-up and other relevant costs. The programme is open to companies making good progress in commercialising products capable of creating new markets or disrupting existing ones.

Ireland ranked fifth based on the value of funding recommended in the round. Companies from Germany, France, Finland and the Netherlands ranked higher.

This will be the second grant Ovagen has received from the EIC. The biotechnology company has developed a process of producing germ-free chicken eggs and germ-free birds, primarily for use in the pharmaceutical industry. Chief executive Dr Catherine Caulfield said the funding would be instrumental in demonstrating the key benefits of its germ-free eggs and would allow scale-up of production for pharmaceutical and biotech customers.

“Ovagen’s germ-free technology will transform the way vaccines and other Biopharmaceuticals are developed and produced,” she said. “It will also ensure security of supply and could save millions of lives each year by improving global immunisation coverage.”

Medical device company Loci Orthopaedics was awarded more than €8 million, with €2.5 million in grant funding and a €5.5 million equity investment, supported by the European Investment Bank. The company has developed a new implant for the treatment of thumb base joint arthritis.

“Being awarded a combination of grant funding from the European Commission, and equity funding supported by the European Investment Bank, is a major endorsement of the huge unmet clinical need in thumb base joint arthritis that we are tackling, the product we’ve developed, and the company that we have founded to get that product to the patients that are most affected,” said Loci Orthopaedics chief executive Dr Brendan Boland. “The EIC accelerator funding will enable the company to finish clinical trials and gain regulatory clearance so we can get our new technology, literally, into the hands of those that need it most.”

Dublin-based Selio Medical, which has developed a medical device that is aimed at eliminating complications in lung biopsies, said it plans to add to its staff numbers as it moves towards bringing the product to market.

“This is fantastic validation of the progress made by Selio Medical and the exciting potential of our platform device to improve the lives of lung cancer patients across Europe,” said chief executive Colm McGarvey. “This support will allow us to grow our team, here in Ireland, to accelerate the development of our technology and our route to market. Our innovative device and company strategy aligns perfectly with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, improving early detection to turn the tide against cancer.”

InVera Medical has developed a medical device to help treat venous leg ulcers. Chief executive Stephen Cox said the funding was a huge step forward in the execution of its plans to help millions of patients.

The four companies are Enterprise Ireland high-potential start-ups (HPSU) or sector clients.

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Leo Clancy said it was a great achievement by the organisations. “Our EIC accelerator activities align very well with ambitions we’ve laid out in our new three-year strategy Leading in a Changing World, that Ireland is a world-leading location to start and scale a business and that we support our clients to access scaling finance at critical points in their company development journey,” he said. “Their success is a reflection of the hands on support they receive at different stages of their journey from our research commercialisation, EIC, HPSU and sector teams.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist