Global market on Horizon for spin-out SiriusXT as it secures €3m funding for X-ray microscope

Posted: August 11, 2016

  • UCD spin-out firm plans to use funding to bring prototype of soft X-ray microscope to a global market
  • SXT system allows researchers to produce images of cells in their own labs
  • Images reveal in unprecedented detail the inner workings of life, drugs and disease on a cellular scale

University College Dublin spin-out firm SiriusXT has secured €3 million to develop its soft X-ray microscope for the global market in the latest round of Horizon 2020 SME Phase 2 funding.

The firm has spent ten years developing the technology for its microscope called SXT. The scientific instrument is the first commercial lab-scale soft X-ray microscope – a benchtop system that allows researchers to produce images in their own labs – in the world.

The company plans to use the funding to take its technology from a current prototype to a first product. A pilot system will be trialled by an early adopter – a company that starts using the technology as soon as it is available – in the UK in 2017.

SiriusXT was co-founded by Dr Ken Fahy, Dr Fergal O’Reilly and Dr Paul Sheridan, as a spin-out from the UCD School of Physics.

“Our main target market are the thousands of worldwide research laboratories that are focused on disease research and drug discovery,” said Tony McEnroe, CEO, SiriusXT.

“Our SXT microscopes have a similar engineering complexity and price tag to an electron microscope, and our goal is to make them as ubiquitous as electron microscopes in our target market.”

The product takes a powerful laser to make a small fireball – as hot as the centre of the sun and about a tenth of the width of a human hair in diameter.

The light created by the fireball allows scientists to illuminate single cells or tissue samples and produce 3D images of cells that cannot be made any other way. The images reveal in unprecedented detail the inner workings of life, drugs and disease on a cellular scale.

SiriusXT, a NovaUCD client company, was named Best Early Stage Company in Ireland at the final of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition last year. 

A total of 19 Irish SMEs have now been granted Phase 2 funding under the Horizon 2020 SME instrument since its launch in 2014.

The Horizon 2020 SME instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop ?ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition.

By: Jamie Deasy, digital journalist, UCD University Relations