Business Irish

Monday 11 December 2017

UCD sues pharma startup for slice of €100m biotech pie

Success story was co-founded by one of the college's own professors

Applied Process Company Limited (APC), formerly Applied Process Consulting Limited, is set to become a major player in the global pharma and biotech market. Photo: Stock Image
Applied Process Company Limited (APC), formerly Applied Process Consulting Limited, is set to become a major player in the global pharma and biotech market. Photo: Stock Image
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

University College Dublin is suing a rapidly-growing pharmaceutical research startup - valued at up to €100m - which was co-founded by one of its own chemical and bioprocess engineering professors.

Applied Process Company Limited (APC), formerly Applied Process Consulting Limited, is set to become a major player in the global pharma and biotech market. But its founders, UCD professor Brian Glennon and Dr Mark Barrett, are being sued by UCD and UCD's Nova Limited, the university's celebrated innovation hub. The hub is home to more than 35 companies, covering a vast array of sectors including ICT, biotech, medical devices, wireless and renewable energy.

Glennon, APC's CTO, and CEO Barrett each hold 50pc of the company whose revenues have soared since its inception in 2011. APC, which industry experts say is valued at up to €100m, is also on course to attract significant venture capital investment to facilitate its rapid expansion.

However, UCD has launched legal proceedings against APC in the fast track Commercial Court, seeking a stake in the fast-growing company.

It is understood that UCD is seeking a 15pc stake in APC whose technology accelerates the delivery of quality, life-changing medicines to patients.

The case, which is set to enter the Commercial Court tomorrow, is being robustly defended by APC which last year opened new headquarters at Cherrywood Business Park in Dublin, creating 100 jobs for highly-skilled chemical engineers as well as scientists and analysts.

UCD is seeking a declaration that it is entitled to 15pc of the company or to have 15pc of APC's share allocation awarded to it. The university is also suing for damages for alleged breaches of contract, fiduciary and misrepresentation.

It is understood that UCD will assert that it had an agreement with APC that the startup would be established as a campus company and take part in its NovaUCD Campus Company Development Programme.

However APC - the idea for which was conceived in Lab 113 at UCD - is expected to argue that it is not a campus company, that there was no contract or shareholders' agreement and that UCD is not entitled to any stake.

Efforts to contact APC and its founders, who last year said they were targeting revenue growth of €50m a year by 2018/2019, were unsuccessful.

A spokesman for UCD said: "It would not be appropriate for us to comment in advance of the court date."

Sunday Indo Business

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