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Limerick genetics firm's E2.7m injection

Tuesday, October 09 10:46:13

Pioneering research by a new Limerick based genetics company, GenCell Biosystems, has achieved major recognition from an international syndicate of investors and Enterprise Ireland in a E2.7m seed funding round.

The cash injection will now see the company continue to expand its international operations as well as adding 20 new staff to its Limerick operations.

Founded by its CEO, Dr. Kieran Curran, GenCell has developed a highly advanced genetic analysis technology that addresses key life science challenges. It has prototyped a new 'Composite Liquid Cell' diagnostic system. This mirrors nature by performing molecular biology within inert synthetic cells. The GenCell system uses microfluidic processes and special light wavelengths to automatically analyse DNA profiles and to predict future growth outcomes in individual cells.

GenCell currently employs 29 staff - mainly PhDs and postgraduates in areas including molecular biology, engineering, software and business management.

The company has established an 18,000 sq ft facility at Raheen in Limerick. It will recruit a further 20 highly qualified staff and also intends establishing an operation in the United States in the current year. GenCell has also formally filed US patent applications and plans to enter full commercial production of its technologies by 2014.

Until now, this type of analysis process has typically involved an intensive use of multiple resources. GenCell's new system brings the various stages of genetic analysis into a single process. It also allows users to massively increase the quantity and speed of data processed in the genetic DNA analysis of biological samples at an unprecedented rate.

With initial applications proving successful in the field of plant and animal related diagnostics, the company has already gained a number of major international customers.

"The technological and diagnostic advances that we are now involved in are bound to have an enormous impact in future years. This investment in GenCell will enable us to expand more quickly into our key markets and offers us the opportunity to be one of the leading international companies in this field. We have already proven the accuracy and effectiveness of our systems which have garnered strong commercial interest to date. Our technology represents a unique and significant step forward and it will form an important new resource for the molecular biology industry," said Dr Curran.

Lisa Vaughan, Department Manager, Enterprise Ireland Scaling Team, said: "GenCell Biosystems is an ambitious, innovative Irish company that has secured several key multinational partners due to their breakthrough technology and the quality of their product and team. Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with the company since its foundation in 2011 and looks forward to continuing to support their investment and helping them to win new business contracts and create high value jobs."