CergenX raises €1.2m in funding to develop newborn brain screening

Cork-based medtech raised money from private investors and Enterprise Ireland

Jason Mowles, CEO, Geraldine Boylan, CSO, and Sean Griffin, CTO of Cergenx. The company has raised €1.2 million in funding to further develop its system for screening newborn babies for brain injuries. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cork-based medtech company CergenX has raised €1.2 million in funding to further develop its technology to screen newborns for brain injury.

The funding was raised through a private financing round, with participation from high net worth individuals and existing investor Enterprise Ireland. It brings to €2 million the total raised by the company to date.

The money will be used to support the development of the newborn brain screener, expanding its staff with roles in artificial intelligence, product management, and software engineering and accelerating the company’s path to market.

CergenX is a spin-out from the Infant Centre in UCC. Founded by chief executive Jason Mowles, chief science officer Professor Geraldine Boylan and chief technology officer Sean Griffin in 2021, the company is currently developing a system that uses artificial intelligence to screen all newborns for signs of brain injury in less than 15 minutes.

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“This latest investment not only validates the immense potential of our newborn brain screener but also demonstrates the confidence our investors have in our vision,” Mr Mowles said. “These funds will enable us to complete the development of the newborn brain screener and launch the product pilots next year. This is incredibly exciting and rewarding work and we have a real opportunity to make a major difference in a vital area of newborn healthcare.”

Electroencephalography monitoring (EEG), the gold standard for assessing brain function in newborns, can be expensive and complex, with a shortage of trained specialists to interpret the results. The CergenX system allows non-specialists to carry out the screening, with algorithms helping to pinpoint potential problems with brain activity.

The company has developed a prototype device, and is targeting a 2025 release after undergoing regulatory approval.

It is estimated that at least five in every 1,000 newborn babies may have a brain injury of some degree, but it is difficult to diagnose until the child is older.

“The device will help answer a very simple but important question for medical staff which is ‘should I be worried about this baby’s brain or not?’ ” said Prof Boylan.

CergenX has identified a considerable market for the newborn brain screener, with the EU, UK, and the US among the initial targets, where there are more than 8 million births a year.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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