NovaUCD Announces Recipients of Annual Innovation Awards

Professor Therese Kinsella, CEO and founder of ATXA Therapeutics.

NovaUCD Announces Recipients of Annual Innovation Awards

- ATXA Therapeutics founder receives the main 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Award

The recipients of NovaUCD’s annual innovation awards, which highlight successes made in areas of knowledge transfer, consultancy, entrepreneurship and the promotion of an innovation culture, by members of the UCD research, innovation and entrepreneurial community, have been announced today.

A total of 7 Awards, including the main 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Award, were presented by Professor Orla Feely, President, University College Dublin (UCD) during an event held in the UCD University Club.

Professor Orla Feely, President, UCD said, “The NovaUCD Innovation Awards have become a key annual event highlighting the University’s commitment to innovation and recognise the achievements of our research, innovation and entrepreneurial communities and I congratulate all who have received this year’s Awards. I would also like to wish the Awardees future success as they continue to work towards delivering economic and societal impact in Ireland, and further afield, through their commercialisation, consultancy, entrepreneurial and innovation activities.”

Pictured (l-r) at the UCD University Club are; Prof. Kate Robson Brown, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact; Assoc. Prof. Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering; Prof. Jonathan Drennan, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems; Prof. Nick Holden, UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering; Prof. Orla Feely, President, UCD; Prof. Therese Kinsella, founder and CEO of ATXA Therapeutics; Hugh Sheehy, co-founder and CEO, Go Eve; John Byrne, founder and CEO; Corlytics; Assoc. Prof. Antoinette Perry, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science and co-founder, EpiCapture and Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation. Note: Prof. Drennan collected the 2024 NovaUCD Consultancy of the Year Award on behalf of Prof. Fiona Timmins.

The 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Award, which recognises excellence in innovation or of successes achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research, or other intellectual activity, over a number of years, was awarded to Professor Therese Kinsella, CEO and founder of ATXA Therapeutics. ATXA Therapeutics is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to the advancement of innovative, life-changing treatments for cardiopulmonary diseases.

The company was founded by Professor Kinsella, a biochemist and a leading expert in the field of prostanoid biology, in 2015 as a spin-out from the UCD School of Molecular and Biomedical Science based on over 20 years of research carried out by her and her team at the UCD Conway Institute.

The company’s focus is the development of its lead candidate drug NTP42 for the treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). PAH is a devastating disease of the lungs and heart with an urgent unmet need for new improved therapies. While the condition itself is classed as a rare or orphan disease, affecting 15-50 patients per million of the population, it carries an enormous health burden with an annual spend in excess of $8 billion globally on prescribed medicines alone in 2023.

Through NTP42, which has orphan drug designations from both the EMA in Europe and the FDA in the US, ATXA aims to offer improved treatment options to prescribing physicians. The company has successfully completed initial First-in-Human Phase I clinical trials for NTP42 in healthy male volunteers. Earlier this year, the company successfully completed a bridging clinical trial testing of a novel oral capsule formulation of NTP42 in men and women.

On receiving the 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Award, Professor Therese Kinsella, CEO and Founder, ATXA Therapeutics, said, “It is indeed a great honour for me to accept this Award from UCD both personally and on behalf of everyone on the ATXA team who have been part of our success journey so far.”

She added, “The company is working towards commencing Phase II clinical trials in PAH patients to demonstrate NTP42’s clinical efficiency. Depending on securing approval from the EMA and FDA regulatory agencies, as well as the necessary inward investment, the Phase II trials are due to run from 2025 through to late 2026.”

ATXA Therapeutics, headquartered at the UCD Conway Institute, has raised over €17 million in funding (equity and grant) to date, and Professor Kinsella and ATXA have a patent estate of 16 granted patents, in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia, with numerous others filed globally protecting their drugs out to the mid-2040s.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Award recipient.

The recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award is Associate Professor Nan Zhang, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He received this Award in recognition of a patented microfluidic system and process for the formulation of nanomedicines, which was developed by him and his research team.

The invention consists of a high-throughput microfluidic system, featuring a cartridge with a uniquely designed mixing channel, coupled with a desktop machine for conducting nanoparticle synthesis. This system is designed to accelerate formulation screening and to enhance formulation optimisation, crucial for the development of gene therapy, cell therapy, and vaccines.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Invention of the Year Award recipient. 

Go Eve, an electric vehicle (EV) charging start-up and a joint UCD and Imperial College London (Imperial) spin-out has been named the recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Licence of the Year Award.

Go Eve is commercialising the ‘DockChain’ technology. DockChain was originally invented by a team of academics and researchers led by Professor Robert Shorten at the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Professor Shorten subsequently moved to the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial and the technology has been further advanced both at UCD and at Imperial, with additional contributions by the commercial team.

Current EV charging technology only allows for one or two EVs to access a charger at a time, so you need lots of chargers or can only electrify a few parking spaces. The DockChain technology solves this problem by extending the reach of a single EV charger with an extensible daisy-chain of low-cost charging terminals, or ‘Docks’, allowing it to electrify multiple parking spaces.

Go Eve was co-founded in 2021 by Hugh Sheehy, John Goodbody, Professor Robert Shorten, Dr Pietro Ferraro and Andrew Cullen and the patented DockChain technology was subsequently licenced to Go Eve by UCD in 2022 to enable the company to commercalise the technology.

Having licenced the technology Go Eve closed a £3 million (€3.5 million) funding round in 2023 from a number of international investors, and has grown to a team of 12 staff, established its headquarters at NovaUCD, with offices in London, and opened a US office in Ohio, with the US being a key target market for the company.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Licence of the Year Award recipient.

EpiCapture, which is focused on developing accurate and non-invasive liquid tests for the early detection and prognostic assessment of high-grade cancers, including prostate cancer, has been named recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Spin-out of the Year Award.

The company was co-founded in 2021 by Associate Professor Antoinette Perry, Co-Director of the UCD Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Lab, and Edward Simons, as a spin-out from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science.

EpiCapture-prostate, the company’s first test which is currently in development, is a novel urine DNA test to detect high grade prostate cancer. EpiCapture-prostate selectively detects high grade prostate cancer by measuring epigenetic changes at six genes in urine using a PCR platform to generate a score, indicating the likelihood that a person has high grade prostate cancer.

The initial intended use of the test is as a disease monitoring tool for patients on active surveillance, i.e. patients who have been diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, to be used repeatedly to monitor disease progression.

In the last year EpiCapture, an Enterprise Ireland high-potential start-up also supported by EIT Health, has completed two multi-centre international studies, appointed Dr Jim Walsh as Chairman and Kevin Tansley as CEO as part of a team of seven and established the company’s headquarters to NovaUCD.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Spin-out of the Year Award recipient.

The recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Founder of the Year Award is John Byrne, CEO and founder of Corlytics, the global leader in regulatory intelligence and policy compliance technology.

Earlier this week Corlytics announced that it has received a significant investment from specialist growth investor Verdane for a majority equity stake to support the RegTech company’s continued growth on the global stage.

Corlytics, headquartered at NexusUCD in Dublin, enables customers to stay ahead of regulatory demands and is the only solution with a fully integrated end-to-end offering, from regulatory horizon scanning to policy management and through to attestation.

Corlytics is relied upon by 40% of the top 30 Systematically Important Financial Institutions (SIFI) including Tier 1 organisations such as ING, BNY Mellon, ScotiaBank and SwissRe.

Since 2020 Corlytics, which also has offices in London, Lisbon and New York, has grown 60% per annum, predominantly driven by its core regulatory compliance products, and the number of customers has roughly doubled during this period.  Last year the company also made two significant acquisitions, ING SparQ and Clausematch. In addition, Corlytics which was founded in 2013 continues to invest heavily in innovation, with Group investments in R&D exceeding €50 million to date.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Founder of the Year Award recipient.

The recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Consultancy of the Year Award is Professor Fiona Timmins, UCD Dean of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems and Head of the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems.

Professor Fiona Timmins

Professor Timmins, who has a strong interest in consulting, is an active researcher within the field of nursing and nurse education and has a strong track record in writing for publications, both as author and as an Editor.

In recent years Professor Timmins has carried out, or is carrying out four consultancy projects, through ConsultUCD, for clients including, Irish Hospice Foundation, UniGe (the University of Genoa) and the HRB.

These consulting projects result in a high level of national and international collaboration and impact that serve to increase the reputation of UCD. There is also a high level of impact upon the nursing profession and clients that they serve, through the enablement of upskilling of nursing professionals and the provision of robust evaluations of health-related projects to inform service delivery.

Professor Timmins is also a strong advocate and supporter of ConsultUCD within her School and within the UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Consultancy of the Year Award recipient.

The recipient of the 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Champion of the Year Award is Nick Holden, Professor of Biosystems Engineering in the UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering. His research interests are focused on the sustainability of agriculture, food systems and the bioeconomy, with a particular focus on using life cycle assessment, systems analysis and remote sensing.

Professor Holden is Deputy Director and co-Principal Investigator (PI) of BiOrbic, Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre and a PI in the UCD Earth Institute and UCD Institute of Food and Health. Professor Holden was also co-PI of the CONSUS project, a five-year Strategic Partnership between UCD and Origin Enterprises PLC supported by Science Foundation Ireland.

Since joining UCD in 1995 Professor Holden has been championing innovation and entrepreneurship within his School and College and through his leadership roles at UCD.

He has collaborated with over 60 companies on technology development and sustainability assessment and his research portfolio has resulted in the submission of a number of invention disclosures related to remote sensing, two new venture ideas, one of which was incorporated as Proveye, a UCD spin-out company.

In addition Professor Holden is also the academic director of the new Food and Agriculture Sustainable Technology Innovation Programme (FAST-IP), an innovation and entrepreneurship programme to be delivered annually by UCD in partnership with Teagasc over the next 6 years. The focus of FAST-IP, which will be based in the AgTechUCD Innovation Centre at UCD Lyons Farm, is to drive innovation within the food and agriculture sector leading to the creation of more high potential start-ups and jobs in this sector of the economy.

The €7 million programme forms part of Enterprise Ireland’s Innovators’ Initiative which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, under the auspices of the Southern, Eastern and Midland Regional Programme 2021-2027.

Click here for further information on the 2024 NovaUCD Innovation Champion of the Year Award recipient.


12 April 2024

For more information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, NovaUCD, UCD Research and Innovation, e: