Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Funds £1.5m investment into Causeway Sensors

  • Kernel Capital through The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Funds (NI) has led a £1.5M investment in Queens University Belfast (QUB) campus company, Causeway Sensors.

    The investment comprises £1.3M from the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund NI and £250k from existing investor QUBIS.

    To make a new biological drug, pharmaceutical companies need to screen millions of candidates and to highly characterise potential leads. Current instrumentation can only capture this critical data after protracted incubation periods. This increases the lead time and risk in taking a drug to market. 

    To address this problem, Causeway are developing what may be the world’s first Nano Sensor Platform that can be integrated directly into a bioreactor unlocking key data in real-time. These inline sensors may reduce risk, improve decision making and enable new drugs to be brought to market faster.

    Causeway Sensors was established in 2016 and its patented Nano Sensor Platform is the result of five years of high impact research and development following twenty years of pure research at Queen's University Belfast. 

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    Earlier this year it was confirmed that Causeway Sensors Limited was awarded £3.3M in grant support from UK Research & Innovation as part of the Smart Nano NI consortium, led by Seagate Technology and also featuring another joint Kernel Capital / QUBIS portfolio company, Cirdan Imaging. 

    In coordination with the investment the board and executive team have been enhanced and restructured. This includes Dr Bob Pollard, Founder taking on the role of Executive President, Dr Antony Murphy is promoted to Chief Executive Officer and Deirdre Francis, formerly of Intelesens has been appointed to the newly created role of Finance Director. 

    Speaking about the investment, David Moore, Head of Spin-outs & Investments, QUBIS said: “Causeway is a great example of the deep tech that exists within the current QUBIS portfolio and we are delighted to once again support the team with their plans to bring this groundbreaking technology into the market.”

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    Antony Murphy, CEO at Causeway Sensors also added: “This latest round of funding is the final stepping-stone on the path to commercialisation of Causeway's technology and I want to take the opportunity to thank our investors for their continued support on our journey. This investment, along with the competitive grant-funding we were awarded from UKRI, will put Causeway in a strong position to fully validate our first product with blue-chip pharmaceutical companies before entering the bioproduction market.”

    The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) was designed to help SMEs in Northern Ireland to accelerate their growth. Invest Northern Ireland has committed £15 million of funding to this fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020. Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020. 

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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