Minister of State Seán Kyne has this week opened a new Business Innovation Centre in Galway city to accelerate the development of healthcare technologies.
The centre at Dangan Business Park features 6,500 sq ft of fully fitted laboratory space with state-of-the art technology to support healthcare startups in the region, with room for up to 100 employees.
This project comes from the Innovation Office at NUI Galway and complements the university’s existing Business Innovation Centres which are home to 52 early-stage companies.
“In the West of Ireland we are fortunate to have strong and vibrant clusters of industry that are populated by global companies but also local start-ups brimming with potential,” Seán Kyne said.
“This new ‘wet lab’ space will help students, researchers, and Life Sciences workers undertake research and development, carry out experiments and test ideas that will potentially have life-enhancing and life-saving results for patients far beyond the West of Ireland.”
Since opening its first Business Innovation Centre 30 years ago, NUI Galway has supported 97 start ups to date which have created 1,456 jobs.
Of those, 56 of the start up companies were in the healthcare sector according to Innovations Operations Manager at NUIG Fiona Neary.
She added that startups in the Life Sciences have very specific needs that the university is well suited to meet.
“They require access to sophisticated ‘wet labs’, very specialised and often expensive equipment, hospitals and a skilled workforce.”
“We anticipate an initiative like this has the potential to create a “networked” regional enterprise hub for the incubation and acceleration of healthcare technologies.”
“This will unleash the capability to promote sharing of resources and expertise, entrepreneurial activity, create jobs, to foster innovation and to enhance export potential.”
The new facility in Dangan already has its first tenant in place, NUI Galway spin-out Orbsen Therapeutics Ltd.
Orbsen is a leading company in the development of cellular immunotherapies across four immune-mediated inflammatory conditions.
Dr Larry Couture, CEO of Orbsen said that as an R&D company they have “benefited greatly from our close proximity to the research community and core services on campus”.
“But as we’ve grown to be a clinical stage company, the lack of suitable laboratory space in the area for emerging biopharmaceutical companies made relocation inevitable.”
“The Dangan facility is exactly what we and the local emerging biopharmaceutical community desperately need and it will allow Orbsen to remain and continue to grow in the Galway area.”
For Orbsen Therapeutics this additional space will accommodate the company’s increasing staff and prepare for the next phase of growth as they close additional funding rounds to support the development of novel therapies.
photo credit: Sean Lydon