Tuesday, 21 October 2014

• NUI Galway to lead new national medical device research centre • NUI Galway to play key role in 3 of 5 new centres • €155 million of new Exchequer funds for 5 world-class Research Centres • €90 million co-investment by over 165 industry partners in new Centres A new world-class medical device research centre is to be established at NUI Galway as part of a €245 million Government investment in science and technology. In addition, NUI Galway is to play a key role in two other research centres announced today in Dublin by Richard Bruton, T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Damien English, T.D. Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation. An announcement of a total of five new SFI Research Centres today is a major investment by the Government in scientific research which is closely aligned to industry and enterprise needs, job opportunities and societal goals. A total of €155 million of Irish exchequer funding will be invested in the new world class research centres of scale. The new funding will be delivered through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme coupled with over €90 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry partners. The funding will be provided over the next six years with a mid-term review. CÚRAM - The Centre for Research in Medical Devices This major new national research centre will be based at NUI Galway. The prime objective for CÚRAM will be to radically improve health outcomes for patients by developing innovative implantable medical devices to treat major unmet medical needs. NUI Galway’s Professor Abhay Pandit, who is currently Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), will be the Director of CÚRAM. Three high-profile Co-Directors will bring a depth and breadth of expertise to the new research centre: Professor Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President of Research and Stokes Professor of Glycosciences and Director of AGRC at NUI Galway; Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Professor of Medicine at NUI Galway; and Professor David Brayden, Professor of Drug Delivery at UCD. CÚRAM will design and create implantable ‘smart’ medical devices. Implants will be designed and manufactured to respond to the body’s environment and to deliver therapeutic agents, such as drugs, exactly where needed. Cutting-edge science will develop devices using the very latest research from biomaterials, stem cells and drug delivery. Devices will be developed with strong clinical collaborations and with industry partners and hospital groups to enable rapid translation to the clinic. CÚRAM’s outputs will benefit in particular patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. As the global population ages, with one in 3 people expected to be over 65 by 2050, the financial burden for healthcare is expected to rocket. CÚRAM will position Ireland as the driver in developing medical device technologies which will provide affordable transformative solutions for chronic diseases to meet this challenge. Crucially, CÚRAM will also sustain and permanently strengthen Ireland’s standing as a major global hub for medical device sector research and development. CÚRAM brings together researchers from NUI Galway, UCD, DCU, UL, UCC and RCSI. The centre will include almost 40 industry partners and support product development and the creation of new spin-out companies. Partners will include indigenous Irish companies and multi-nationals such as Arch Therapeutics Inc, Aerogen, Medtronic Vascular Galway Ltd.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Orbsen Therapeutics, a spin-out from NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) has announced plans to partner with the University of Birmingham in a €6 million project to fight liver disease. The stem cell research company, which was founded by Prof Frank Barry and Prof Tom O’Brien in 2006, will collaborate with the university on an EU FP7-funded project known by as Merlin (MEsynchymal stem cells to Reduce Liver INflammation). The project, which is led by Prof Phil Newsome, will advance Orbsen’s proprietary cell therapy to a Phase 2a clinical trial.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The National University Ireland Galway has signed an agreement to formalise collaborative ties with the Mayo Clinic Centre for Regenerative Medicine in the US. The agreement follows many years of close cooperation, and paves the way for joint collaborations in clinical trials using regenerative therapies. Collaborative research projects will focus on a number of key strategic areas of importance for both institutes, including adult stem cell therapy, gene therapy, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Furthermore, the agreement facilitates ongoing student and staff exchange between Galway and the US.   The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) puts the emphasis on regulatory science to facilitate global translation of regenerative medicine therapies to the clinic. Both the National University Ireland Galway and the Mayo Clinic Centre for Regenerative Medicine have GMP cell manufacturing facilities, licensed for use by the respective national medical authorities. National University of Ireland Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne, welcoming the signing of the MOU, said: “Formalising our longstanding links paves the way for advancing our common agenda which is to realize the potential of regenerative medicine. Here in Galway we have Ireland’s only facility licenced to produce stem cells for human use, while the new clinical and translational research facility for conducting clinical trials with patients will be complete in early 2015.” NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), both of which are supported by Science Foundation Ireland, are working together specifically to develop joint clinical trial programmes in the area of regenerative medicine. Professor Tony Windebank, Deputy Director for Discovery of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic said: “Mayo Clinic and NUI Galway have an established track record and commitment to regenerative medicine over the last decade. The Mayo Clinic has prioritized the development of new regenerative medicine clinical applications as a critical strategy for meeting the needs of patients in the future, which was evidenced in the formation of our Centre for Regenerative Medicine in 2012.” The signing of the MOU comes on top of the recent announcement of a new $16 million agreement between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland where up to 20 novel medical technologies will be commercialised in Ireland over the next five years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

A gold medal which will be awarded each year to the most outstanding student on the Masters in Preventive Cardiology programme at NUI Galway was inaugurated this week at a special ceremony in the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway. The Kieran Daly Medal was inaugurated to honour the immeasurable contribution which Dr. Kieran Daly, Honorary Clinical Professor in Medicine at NUI Galway and Consultant Cardiologist at Galway University Hospitals, has made to education and training in Cardiology over a long and distinguished career. Additionally, the medal honours the leadership Dr Daly has shown over many years , firstly as Research & Medical Director of Croí and for the past five years as Chairperson of the organisations Board of Directors, a position which he retired from earlier this month.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and Orbsen Therapeutics will lead a €6 million EU-funded project to develop new diagnostic tests and a cell therapy for the prevention of immunological complications in people receiving corneal transplants. Corneal transplantation is the most common transplant carried out worldwide, with more than 100,000 procedures per year. It is often the only treatment available to restore sight to people who have lost vision due to diseases of the cornea.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Irish American Partnership study shows exciting growth   Ireland is slowly emerging from its economic disaster and one of the main reasons is the medical device business led by Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and 200 other medical device companies located in Galway and throughout the country. A just-released research study financed by the Irish American Partnership, sponsored by the Regenerative Medicine Institute of the National University of Ireland Galway, and authored by Ms. Emma Wickham shows how the medical device business in both Galway and Massachusetts is thriving due at least partly to “technology transfer” activities. “Technology transfer” refers to collaborative programs involving government grants, university research, and industry. Successful product-producing research is typically licensed to an existing business in the field for manufacture, promotion, and distribution. The goal, of course, is more jobs for the local economy. Taxpayer-supported research programs are used by all governments throughout the world to create new business and bring huge health benefits to all people. Massachusetts and Ireland, with their combined accumulation of extraordinary universities, willing governments, and forward-thinking companies are natural candidates for this collaboration, and Galway and Boston have benefitted immensely from the programs. The medical device category covers a wide variety of product areas. The list includes artificial joints and prosthetic limbs, laboratory tools, even large X-ray machines and MRI scanners. It also includes cardiovascular products such as pacemakers, stents to open heart valves, and defibrillators. The major companies in the business are Johnson & Johnson, GE Healthcare, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Abbott, Stryker ,and Becton Dickinson. According to Enterprise Ireland, a business promoting agency of the Irish government, 80 percent of the stents used globally are made in Ireland. Quoting from the Irish American Partnership/University of Galway study: “Ireland is now one of the largest exporters of medical devices in the world, with an export value of 7.2 billion in 2010. The Irish government has identified the medical device sector as a key driver for economic growth, and so has invested heavily in this sector. There are over 200 medical device companies located in Ireland and the medical technology sector employs 25,000 people directly.” Similar businesses tend to cluster together and this is very true of the medical device business. Galway and Boston are good examples. The establishment of Boston Scientific and Medtronic in Galway in the 1990s is responsible for the growth of the medical device cluster in Ireland, specifically in Galway. The Boston area has similarly benefitted from the location of Boston Scientific. According to the Partnership/Galway study, Massachusetts and Ireland have approximately 25,000 workers employed in medical device manufacture, research, and development. Due to their respective sizes, Ireland’s medical device employment is far more important. In fact, Ireland’s total population (4.6 million) is less than that of Massachusetts (6.6 million). Ireland was a manufacturing location until about 15 years ago. Today, because its educational system is producing such a highly trained work force, Ireland has become a favorite research area for new medical device investment. Boston Scientific, Stryker, Abbott, Covidien, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic have all set up research and development facilities in Ireland. And today, Massachusetts and Ireland have countless agencies and organizations dedicated to assisting universities and companies specifically in the medical device business. In Ireland foremost among them are the Regenerative Medicine Institute in the National University of Galway, Trinity Biomedical Institute at Trinity College, and the Irish government’s Enterprise Ireland. The Galway Technology Center helps small business in the county. The Irish Medical Device Association and the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council are both dedicated to bringing new business to their areas and assisting existing business where needed. “Technology Transfer” is the key to all these promotional activities, and the process of government funding, University research, and licensed business participation is the central focus. No good idea, no successful product-producing research will go unrewarded with all this support in place.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.”