An early-stage medtech venture developing a new microneedle platform technology has won a University College Dublin (UCD) commercialisation award. The creator of Micro Needle Slow-Mo is Ellen Cahill, a PhD student in the UCD Medical Device Design Group within the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Ellen is working on this start-up technology with Dr Eoin O’Cearbhaill and Dr Shane Keaveney.
Microneedle patches are microsystem devices which are commonly used to painlessly pierce an individual’s skin creating a pathway for therapeutic drug delivery.
Many such needles have been designed for use in vaccine and therapeutic drug delivery. However there is an industry demand for biofunctional or stimulus responsive microneedles which can deliver a slow, sustained release of therapeutic drugs through a cost-effective, scalable process.
To solve this issue Micro Needle Slow-Mo has designed and developed a new type of microneedle. This new microneedle platform technology has the potential to deliver slow-release therapeutics with enhanced mechanical performance compared to currently available microneedles on the market.
Micro Needle Slow-Mo was the overall winner of the 2016 UCD MedTech Innovation Sprint Programme, a 1-day initiative designed and delivered by UCD’s technology transfer and enterprise development teams at NovaUCD.
Each 1-day innovation sprint programme aims to encourage the development of commercial outputs, arising from specific research areas, by engaging with researchers at an earlier stage in the commercialisation process.
Ellen Cahill said, “The aim of my research at UCD is focused on developing a platform technology which offers a smart way of delivering next-generation therapeutics through minimally invasive approaches.”
“I am delighted to have won the latest UCD Innovation Sprint programme for my business idea for a new microneedle platform technology which has resulted from my research to date. During the programme I received valuable feedback for my business idea from a perspective beyond an academic viewpoint. I now aim to seek Enterprise Ireland commercialisation funding to help bring this technology to the next stage of development.”
This research has been supported by Science Foundation Ireland through a Technology Innovation Development Award, the Naughton Foundation and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship.
Brendan Cremen, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said, “I would like to congratulate Ellen Cahill on winning the 2016 UCD MedTech Innovation Sprint Award. This early-stage business idea to develop a new microneedle platform technology has the potential to make a significant impact in the medtech industry in Ireland and internationally.”
He added, “Our objective with the Innovation Sprint Programmes, including our latest MedTech Sprint, is to engage with researchers at an earlier stage in the commercialisation process to assist them in understanding and defining more clearly the commercial potential of the outputs emerging from their research activities.”
During the 1-day 2016 UCD MedTech Innovation Sprint Programme a number of internal and external technology and business professionals collaborated with the UCD researchers to explore the commercial potential of transforming their research ideas into early-stage business ideas.
Over 40 researchers with over 30 business ideas have taken part in the eight 1-day Innovation Sprint Programmes delivered to date at UCD. The other programmes have focused on business opportunities arising from research taking place in areas such as; Agri-Food; CleanWeb; Data Science; Engineering; ICT; IoT and Life Science.
At the end of the programme Micro Needle Slow-Mo was presented with a €500 professional service prize fund to assist with further developing the business idea, as it was judged to have the most commercial potential.
The members of the judging panel were; Brendan Cremen, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, John Hughes, co-founder, Innovation Zed and Brian Harrison, Managing Director, HiTech Health.