December 2014

Dr Frank Lyons Awarded Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund

Tue, 9 December 14 15:46

During the course of his work as an orthopaedic specialist registrar in Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital and Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Dr Frank Lyons identified a perceived deficiency in orthopaedic surgery. In brief, Dr Lyons noted the oftentime less than optimal closure of joints during the reparation of the joint capsule and associated tendons at the end of surgery. Dr Lyons, who himself has a PhD in Bioengineering, undertook to realise a more streamlined approach to this element of surgery and set out to pioneer a means through which the opening of the joint at the beginning of the operation can be carried out with a device that can facilitate a rapid and strong closure at the end of the case.

On foot of previous interactions with Enterprise Ireland (EI) during the course of his PhD in Bioengineering, in January 2014, Dr Lyons secured a grant of €15,000 through the EI Commercial Feasibility Fund to explore the potential for development of such a joint closure device. This grant funding was deployed in a number of important early stages of product development. 

  • Lifescience consultant, Dr. Liz Moran was retained to carry out a comprehensive market assessment and to identify and interview four key-opinion-leaders in the field.
  • Medical device engineer Dr. Nick Hitchins and a medical device prototyping firm (Arrotek Medical) produced CAD drawings and provided a production feasibility assessment.
  • Patent attorneys (Purdey Lucey) undertook a comprehensive IP landscape assessment.

The feasibility study was completed in May 2014 and the findings were presented to Enterprise Ireland Case Manager, Dr James Walsh and his colleagues. Dr Lyons was invited to apply for support from the EI Commercialisation Fund. With professional input from Dr Ena Walsh (UCD Nova), Dr Paddy Mallon (SMMS Associate Dean for Research & Innovation) and Dr Eoin O’Cearbhaill (UCD School of Engineering), Dr Lyons compiled an extensive and detailed application document which was submitted in July 2014.

On October 22nd, Dr Lyons and his colleagues received confirmation that their EI Commercialisation Fund grant submission had been successful and a total of €495k in funding over 24 months had been awarded. The output of this grant will be a working, CE marked, patented device which will be ready for evaluation in clinical trials.

This case study demonstrates that the spark of innovation by an individual clinician can be efficiently and effectively supported by professional resources in both academia and the enterprise sector.

Should anyone wish to ask Dr Lyons about the project or about the application process, he can be contacted via email francis.lyons@ucd.ie