MetHealth Wins University College Dublin’s 2022 Start-Up of the Year Award

Pictured at NovaUCD is Dr Fiona McGillicuddy, UCD School of Medicine, MetHealth project lead, overall winner of the 2022 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.

MetHealth Wins University College Dublin’s 2022 Start-Up of the Year Award

 - Emerging MedTech start-up focused on transforming obesity care

- Winner announced as part of NovaUCD Investor Day event

- Over 25 companies seeking to raise funding in excess of €100 million pitched at event

MetHealth, an early-stage start-up focused on transforming obesity care, has today been announced as the winner of the 2022 University College Dublin (UCD) Start-Up of the Year Award.  

MetHealth, won the Award, and a €30,000 prize fund, after being declared overall winner of the 2022 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. The annual Programme, which is run by NovaUCD, aims to support the creation and launch of sustainable and profitable new start-ups emerging from the University.

The announcement took place as part of the 2022 NovaUCD Investor Day event. At this event some 27 NovaUCD client companies, which between them are seeking to raise in excess of €100 million in Seed or Series A funding, pitched to an invited audience of venture capitalists and private investors.

MetHealth is developing a biomarker-based risk-stratification platform and associated digital health solution that can identify patients with complications of obesity, including liver disease. The platform supports clinical decision making and enhanced delivery of personalised care for individual patients.

The members of the MetHealth team are; Dr Fiona McGillicuddy, who took part in the VentureLaunch programme, and Professor Stephen Pennington, UCD School of Medicine and UCD Conway Institute, Associate Professor Catherine Mooney, UCD School of Computer Science and UCD Conway Institute, Dr Rachel Byrne, UCD School of Medicine, Dr Anna Antoniadi, UCD School of Computer Science and Aleksandra Dudzik, UCD School of Medicine.

Dr Fiona McGillicuddy said, “The global prevalence of obesity is increasing significantly. In the EU alone some 1.2 million people are dying annually due to obesity complications, including from liver disease.”

“Early identification of those patients with liver inflammation is key but this currently involves painful invasive tests. We are developing a novel biomarker-based platform technology which can, using a blood sample, stratify patients with obesity who are at high risk of complications of obesity including liver disease. This non-invasive test eliminates pain for the patient, is significantly more cost effective than an invasive test, can lead to early interventions for high-risk patients and can aid clinical trial recruitment for new drugs targeting the liver.”

She added, “On behalf of the MetHealth team I am delighted to win the 2022 UCD Start-Up of the Year Award following the completion of the VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme at NovaUCD. We currently plan to spin-out of UCD at the end of 2023 when we will be seeking to raise €2 million in seed funding to set up the MetHealth laboratory and develop a market ready prototype.”

The main objective of the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme is to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be required to work as part of a team leading a new commercial venture. On completion of the programme the expectation is that participating new ventures will have developed a commercially viable business plan.

The programme consisted of eight workshops delivered over a two-month period from October to November at NovaUCD. The Business Model Canvas approach to start-up development forms the basis of the programme with each session consisting of a mix of taught content and interactive workshops delivered by external experts as well as involving talks from entrepreneurs. Participants also gain expert mentoring on marketing, finance and funding, sales and pitching to investors. 

Pictured (l-r) Dr Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge (chair of judging panel), Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, Dr Fiona McGillicuddy, MetHealth, Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Brendan Farley, Managing Director EMEA and Corporate Vice-President Wireless Engineering, AMD 

Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD said, "I would like to congratulate MetHealth, which is focused on transforming obesity care, on winning this year’s VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme. NovaUCD looks forward to working with the MetHealth team to support them to meet their global ambitions.”

He added, “This year’s VentureLaunch final took place as part of the NovaUCD Investor Day event during which some 27 UCD spin-in and spin-out companies pitched to members of the VC and private investor community. Between them these companies are currently seeking to raise over €100 million in funding to support them to grow and scale which is an indication of the quality and ambition of NovaUCD client companies.”

In addition to the 2022 UCD Start-up of the Year Award MetHealth receives a prize package worth €30,000, which includes a €10,000 cash prize sponsored by AMD, a professional service package sponsored by Deloitte and Bryan Maguire Financial Services and incubation space at NovaUCD.

The 2022 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme evaluation panel, which selected the overall winner following pitches by this year’s finalists, was chaired by Dr Helen McBreen, Atlantic Bridge. The other members of the panel were; William Byrne, Illumina Ventures; Brendan Farley, AMD, Samira Kaissi, Lightstone Ventures and Alan O’Connell, Seroba.

The other participants on this year’s programme in addition to MetHealth were, Cymantic Medical, Infraprint, Kapitly and LaNua. (Profiled below).

Cymantic Medical, Infraprint, LaNua and MetHealth are currently being supported through the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund.


8 December 2022

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

Editors Notes

The other participants on the 2022 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, in addition to MetHealth, are profiled below;

Cymantic Medical is building next-generation tools for use in surgical and interventional oncology. Cymantic Medical’s AI-based device provides real-time support for intraprocedural decision-making, thereby removing the need for repeat procedures, as well as their associated risks and costs. Stephen Geoghegan, UCD School of Medicine, completed the Programme for Cymantic Medical.

Infraprint’s patent pending TRAAM (Thermal Radiation Assisted Additive Manufacturing) technology is capable of printing parts almost twice the strength of existing industrial systems. This digital technology is leading the way to a stronger, more sustainable and energy efficient production process for small batch components. From the high temperature super polymers of aerospace, to the biocompatible polymers of the medical sectors, Infraprint can print complex parts with the strength to get the job done. Infraprint enables true industrial 3D printing. Dr Andrew Dickson, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering completed the Programme for Infraprint.

Kapitly is a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform for energy companies to access additional capital to accelerate clean energy infrastructure, saving millions of lives lost to pollution. Olakunle Alao completed the Programme for Kapitly.

LaNua provides an innovative medical device solution to enable interventional radiologists to focus on optimising outcomes for patients with malignant/benign tumours or with uncontrolled bleeding by isolating blood vessels and providing a stable platform for treatment. Tom Fitzmaurice, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, completed the Programme for LaNua.

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech companies as part of UCD's mission. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies along with a series of programmes, such as the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, to assist entrepreneurs establishing start-ups. 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.