UCD medical spin-out secures €2.1 million investment

Posted February 15, 2017

  • OncoMark test will reduce number of patients who receive chemotherapy unnecessarily

A €2.1 million investment will allow UCD spin-out OncoMark to commercialise its lead product used in the treatment of early-stage breast cancer.

The investment round included Kernel Capital, through Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds; the Irrus Investments syndicate; the Galway HBAN MedTech syndicate; private investors and Enterprise Ireland.

OncoMasTR is a prognostic test based on a panel of genetic “drivers” of breast cancer that will reduce the number of patients who receive chemotherapy unnecessarily.

The investment will allow OncoMasTR to move from clinical validation to regulatory approval and full commercialisation. OncoMark is aiming to release the product in mid-2018.

The majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy despite many not benefiting from the treatment. This leads to severe side effects for patients and significant costs to healthcare systems around the world.

Pictured (l-r): Dawn Walsh, Kernel Capital; Des O’Leary, CEO, OncoMark; Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute and co-founder, OncoMark; Deirdre Glenn, Manager, Lifesciences Sector, Enterprise Ireland and Kevin Healy, Senior Manager, Corporate Banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland. (Nick Bradshaw/Fotonic) 

“Approximately 70% of patients do not require chemotherapy after initial surgery, but it has been difficult to identify these individuals,” said Des O’Leary, CEO of OncoMark.

“The OncoMasTR test is designed to enable a more personalised approach to patient care, helping clinicians to determine which patients should not receive chemotherapy, ultimately improving their quality of life.”

OncoMark was founded by Professor William Gallagher, of UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute, and Steve Penney, a chartered accountant with over 22 years of experience in international financial services and consultancy.

It was previously awarded €2.7 million through Horizon 2020 to clinically validate the OncoMasTR test.

OncoMark has 14 employees and is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin. There are currently 25 companies located at NovaUCD.??A spin-out, such as OncoMark is a company created to commercialise academic research developed in University College Dublin.

By: Jonny Baxter, digital journalist, UCD University Relations