Developer of new technology to tackle heart and respiratory diseases scoops NovaUCD 2006 Innovation Award

The NovaUCD 2006 Innovation Award was this afternoon, presented to personalised health monitoring entrepreneur, Dr Conor Heneghan by UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, in recognition of his success in the commercialisation of research undertaken at UCD’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering.

Dr Conor Heneghan

Dr Heneghan, already a named inventor on four UCD patent applications, co-founded BiancaMed with Dr Philip de Chazal in 2002. BiancaMed's vision is to provide convenient health and wellness monitoring technology for use in daily life.

BiancaMed’s target market is the fast-growing home-health sector. The company is currently developing a product which will allow ultra-convenient heart and respiration monitoring at home as part of an overall health management suite. This product will address needs in the medical management of chronic diseases such as heart failure, respiratory disease, and diabetes, which currently represent a significant challenge from the point of view of quality-of-life and healthcare costs. Such innovative technologies can be integrated with state-of-the-art telecommunications allowing a person and their healthcare team to use mobile phone, broadband, or wireless communications for ease of use and mobility.

BiancaMed, which is located in NovaUCD, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD, currently employs a staff of five, has raised $400,000 in funding and has secured deals with leading US companies, Del Mar Reynolds Medical and ResMed.

On presenting the NovaUCD 2006 Innovation Award to Dr Heneghan, Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD, said, “Conor Heneghan is one of those special individuals who has managed to achieve excellence in research combined with the successful commercialisation of the resulting intellectual property.”

In early 2005 BiancaMed’s screening technology, which it had licensed to US-based Del Mar Reynolds Medical to develop the LifeScreen ApneaTM product, secured Food and Drug Administration clearance enabling this medical device to be marketed in the United States. This product has already been used by leading physicians in Argentina, Ireland, UK and US.

LifeScreen ApneaTM permits cardiologists to screen for obstructive sleep apnea using only the overnight recordings of a patient’s cardiac signals recorded in the individual’s home. Obstructive sleep apnea with an estimated 20 million sufferers in the US alone, is a medical condition in which the breathing of an individual is interrupted while he/she is asleep, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and which is also a risk factor for serious heart disease.

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD congratulating Dr Heneghan on winning this year’s NovaUCD Innovation Award said, “Conor has been extremely proficient in both the creation of an intellectual property portfolio and in the establishment of an exciting spin-off company, BiancaMed.” He added, “He is an ideal role model for young researchers seeking inspiration in the establishment of new knowledge-intensive enterprises that are so critical for the development of an indigenous high-tech sector in Ireland.”

BiancaMed participated on the NovaUCD 2002 Campus Company Development Programme and was the overall award winner of that year’s Programme. BiancaMed was also short-listed for InterTradeIreland’s EquityNetwork all-island Seedcorn Business competition in 2004 and the company was a runner-up in the Dublin Chamber of Commerce David Manley 2005 Award for the most inspiring emerging enterprise.

21 June 2006


For further information contact: Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, tel: (01) 716 3712, e-mail:

NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s € 11 million Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre. NovaUCD is responsible for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from UCD research and for the development of co-operation with industry and business. NovaUCD as a purpose-built centre also nurtures new technology and knowledge-intensive enterprises. NovaUCD has over 40 incubation units, including bio-incubation units, and provides innovators and entrepreneurs with the necessary support and knowledge to take their ideas from proof of principle to commercial success. Twenty-three knowledge-intensive companies are currently located in NovaUCD. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.

The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to highlight UCD’s commitment to innovation. The Award is presented annually to an individual in recognition of excellence in, contribution or commitment to innovation or in recognition of successes achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research. Previous winners of the NovaUCD Innovation Award include Professor Barry Smyth (2005) and Professor Mark Rogers (2004). The Award has been designed by Colm Brennan, Sculptor of CAST Bronze Foundry. The award is a sculpture composed of a triangular form of polished Kilkenny limestone and a tapering spiral of bronze. The bronze spiral commences as a three-stepped path that resolves into a point as it ascends. The formal stone element represents existing knowledge while the dynamic spiral is a metaphor for research striving towards innovation.