Sunday 11 December 2016

Irish biotech startup lands €36m in funding to fight genetic diseases

Published 27/10/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with the co-founders of Genomics Medicine Ireland, Daniel Crowley, Paul Thurk, Sean Ennis and Maurice Treac. Photo: Conor Healy Photography
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with the co-founders of Genomics Medicine Ireland, Daniel Crowley, Paul Thurk, Sean Ennis and Maurice Treac. Photo: Conor Healy Photography

An Irish life-sciences startup has raised €36m in funding and says it will create 150 jobs.

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Genomics Medicine Ireland is to use the money to set up a genomic research and development centre in Dublin to try and identify genes that contribute to diseases such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes and cancer.

The funding is being provided by a combination of investors including the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

The €8bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) is controlled by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and was set up to support economic activity and employment in the country. It has invested €2.4bn to date. "We look forward to working closely with the Irish healthcare system to develop better diagnostics and new means to optimise health and patient outcomes," said Daniel Crowley, acting chief executive of Genomics Medicine Ireland.

"The size and characteristics of the Irish population can powerfully advance scientific discovery as researchers are able to pinpoint variations in DNA relevant to disease and useful for improving medicine."

Genomics Medicine Ireland was founded last year by a group of biotech and life science entrepreneurs, investors and researchers. Its four co-founders are Daniel Crowley, Sean Ennis, Paul Thurk and Maurice Treacy.

"This investment will enable Genomics Medicine Ireland to undertake comprehensive population-scale genome studies," said a spokesman.

"These will improve understanding of the genetic and lifestyle factors involved in disease, contributing to better diagnostics and more effective prevention and wellness. Genomics Medicine Ireland expects to announce its first collaboration with an Irish hospital in the coming weeks and is actively engaged in talks with a number of clinical collaborators island-wide."

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