Serial Life Sciences Entrepreneur Receives NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award

Nicola Mitchell, the founder and CEO of two successful life sciences companies, Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics, has been presented with the NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award. Nicola established Life Scientific in 1995 with a business idea based on a unique configuration integrating product development with regulatory affairs to enable clients in the agrochemical industry get their products to market more quickly. 

Nicola Mitchell
Nicola Mitchell, recipient NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award

Life Scientific has now evolved to the point where end-to-end plant protection product development can be carried out from initial concept to commercialisation.  In 2006 Nicola established her second company, BioScientific Diagnostics, to provide expertise in the development, validation and utilisation of immuno and cell-based methods for investigation of biopharmaceuticals and biomarkers.

Today Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics operate from three facilities, including two certified laboratories in Blackrock and NovaUCD along with an office in London. The companies collectively employ over 40 people, the majority of whom are scientists. Annual turnover is expected to reach €4 million this year, 95% of which is derived from export sales. The companies have established strategic links with key industrial players such as Amgen, Mitsui, FMC, Bayer, GSK and Pfizer.

On presenting the NovaUCD 2009 Innovation Award to Nicola Mitchell, Dr Hugh Brady, President, UCD, said, “The establishment, growth and development of companies such as Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics is at the heart of the UCD/TCD Innovation Alliance’s objective of developing a world-class ecosystem for innovation that drives enterprise development and the creation of sustainable high-value jobs.”

Dr Hugh Brady, Nicola Mitchell and Dr Pat Frain

Having evolved from contract product development, Life Scientific is now producing its own products. Following Enterprise Ireland investment in the company’s first in-house R&D programme, Life Scientific currently holds its own product licenses in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Ireland, and Imidasect 5GR, its niche horticultural product, is the UK market leader. 

Through the re-investment of retained earnings, and with further support from Enterprise Ireland, Life Scientific is expanding its R&D activities and will have a further three own products ready for the European market by the end of 2009.

Revenue from current business activities is forecast to reach €11 million by 2013 and this excludes projected revenue from Life Scientific’s own products.

Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD congratulating Nicola on receiving this year’s NovaUCD Innovation Award said, “Nicola is clearly one of our most successful life science entrepreneurs. From the start it was clear that Nicola would be successful given her huge dedication and commitment to growing and developing her companies.” He added, “She is an ideal role model and an inspiration for others who wish to establish and grow new knowledge-intensive enterprises.”

Looking to the future Nicola’s vision is to ultimately develop patentable products by exploiting synergies between Life Scientific and BioScientific Diagnostics. In particular, by leveraging the companies’ in-depth knowledge of plant protection products and expertise in biotechnology, she aims to create new standards for crop protection that will lead to a new generation of cleaner, greener agrochemicals.


22 July 2009

For further information contact: Micéal Whelan, NovaUCD, t: (01) 716 3712, e:

Editors Notes

The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to highlight UCD’s commitment to innovation. The Award is presented annually to an individual, company or organisation in recognition of excellence in innovation or of success achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity. The previous award recipients are Celtic Catalysts (2008), Professor Ciaran Regan (2007), Professor Conor Heneghan (2006), 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.

Nicola Mitchell graduated as a chemist and her background is in the pharmaceutical and plant protection product industries. During this time she developed a specialist knowledge in the areas of product development and regulatory affairs.  She holds an MBA in Finance from Fordham University, New York and she recently completed the CEO Leadership for Growth Programme at Stanford University.

NovaUCD is University College Dublin’s €11 million Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre.  Twenty-five knowledge-intensive companies, including BioScientific Diagnostics, 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.