Taoiseach launches NUI Galway and Mayo Clinic medical technology development agreement

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, this morning launched an intellectual property agreement signed by NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic, USA, which will see the development of a novel treatment for acute pancreatitis.

The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in an €11.7 million collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and the Mayo Clinic which will see the development and commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies over the next five years and the creation of high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny witnessed the signing of the agreement between Jeff Bolton, vice president of the Mayo Clinic, and Dr Keith O’Neill, director lifesciences commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland, in Dublin today. The agreement is also supported by ACT Capital in Dublin and the Aisling Venture Capital New York.

The Mayo Clinic has patented a device which is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A project team of Caroline Gaynor and Kiel McCool led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far, and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The key advantage of the device is that it provides a minimally invasive therapy that can speed up patient recovery times, reduce risk of disease progression and the time taken, and reduce the requirement for surgery.

The device will not only help to make the patient feel better more quickly but will reduce the associated costs for patients and health care providers. Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone.

Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing. NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study.

NUI Galway president Dr Jim Browne described the agreement as building on the “many links” between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. He added: “It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.”

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