UCD spin-out epiCaPture lauded as it wins 2020 Start-Up of the Year Award

Posted 3 December, 2020

Dr Antoinette Perry, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science

A University spin-out that developed a test to help eliminate unnecessary procedures when it comes to prostate cancer has won University College Dublin's 2020 Start-Up of the Year Award.

epiCaPture, a start-up emerging from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, has produced a novel urine DNA test for aggressive prostate cancer.

By searching for six epigenetic biomarkers which are indicative of the disease, the company's test informs on the need for a biopsy – thereby creating the potential to cut costs and eliminate the need for the invasive procedure for the majority of men with the disease.

epiCaPture won the this year's Start-Up Award, and its €32,000 prize fund, after being declared overall winner of the 2020 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.

The annual programme, run by NovaUCD, supports the creation and launch of sustainable and profitable new start-ups emerging from the University.

The members of the epiCaPture team are Dr Antoinette Perry, Asia Jordan, Adele Connor and Ross Nelson, along with Edward Simons, a chartered accountant and former investment banker.

“We are delighted and honoured to have won the 2020 UCD Start-up of the Year Award which is testament to the research dedication and hard work of the epiCaPture team over the last number of years,” said Dr Perry.

“epiCaPture performance thus far looks really promising. We’re currently at the stage of validating the results in an independent cohort, and we anticipate results by mid next year.”

She added: “I would like to thank all the patients in Ireland and abroad who very kindly donated a urine sample. Without their participation, none of this work would be possible.

“I would also like to acknowledge grant funding from Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, Movember, Science Foundation Ireland and the US Prostate Cancer Foundation, which has enabled this research.”

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.

Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, NovaUCD said: “It is great to be able to support our UCD research community to accelerate the creation of exciting new start-ups through our VentureLaunch programme, which of course was held online this year.

“I would like to congratulate the epiCaPture team on winning this year’s programme and I wish them, and all the programme participants, every commercial success, here in Ireland and internationally, in the years ahead.”

In addition to the 2020 UCD Start-up of the Year Award, epiCaPture received a cheque for €10,000 sponsored by AIB, a professional services package to the value of €10,000 sponsored by Bryan Maguire Business Consulting and Deloitte and incubation space at NovaUCD to the value of €12,000.

The other participants on this year’s programme were, AquaB Nanobubble Innovations Ltd, Joyst Instruments Ltd, recsyslabs and seamlessCARE.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations (with materials from Micéal Whelan, UCD Research and Innovation)