Cancer therapy tech named overall winner of INVENT 2020

  • A newly designed technology that helps in the treatment of skin cancer has been named as the overall winner of the annual Northern Ireland INVENT Awards.

    Organised by Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, INVENT aims to shine a light on the creativity of local entrepreneurs and despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic more than 100 talented innovators applied this year, with 12 finalists chosen to compete for the main prize.

    The event was shown digitally due to Covid-19 restrictions, with teams pitching at the ICC Belfast’s hybrid studio and streamed live to a virtual audience.

    The overall winner, KLAS-PDT Technology, took home a prize package of £13,000 from a total prize fund of £33,000.

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    KLAS-PDT Technology is a peptide based non-invasive therapy for metastatic melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It is used alongside current immunotherapies to increase their effectiveness at a reduced cost to the provider and less toxicity for the user.

    Bridgeen Callan, founder of KLAS-PDT Technology, said: “We have developed an innovative new therapy for treating metastatic melanoma that results in no scarring for the patient and also reduces cost. The INVENT process has been invaluable to help me translate the science into something that is more understandable and which I hope can be made available to everyone.”

    Awards category winners on the night were:  

    -        Creative media and Consumer Internet - Sport Buff

    -        Enterprise Software – Movetru

    -        Life and Health Sciences – Klas PDT Technology

    -        Agri Science – Stallion Services

    -        Engineering- AJEA

    -        Electronics – AntennaWare

    The finalists also gave a live one-minute elevator pitch to win £1,000, with the virtual audience voting Truss Buddy the winner of best pitch.

    The winner of the Student INVENT competition was Belfast-based Kezie Todd from Ulster University, who has developed Arcadia Report, an immersive mystery experience that transforms your city into an escape room via its rich story-telling platform.

    RELATED: NI universities chosen to work with Cancer Research UK on next-generation cancer treatments

    Four Innovator Awards were also presented to Bloc Blinds, Axial 3D, Surecert and Ulster University’s Professor Tara Moore, who were recognised for their success in pivoting their business or working to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Kerry McGarvey, programme manager at INVENT congratulated the finalists, adding that “the breadth of different ideas that were covered in this year’s competition has firmly demonstrated that innovation really is alive and well in Northern Ireland.”

    Around 1,200 people worldwide tuned in to hear from the entrepreneurs on the night.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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