Belfast Telegraph

Innovative QUB medical technology group lands £1.2m Kernel Capital boost

By Andrew Madden

Causeway Sensors, a Queen's University medical technology spin-out, has received a £1.2m investment from the Bank of Ireland's venture capital fund, Kernel Capital.

Causeway Sensors in Belfast, founded in 2013 by Dr Robert Pollard, Professor Robert Bowman and Dr John Nelson, is working on a solution to antibiotic resistance.

The investment comes from the Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI), in partnership with Invest NI, private investors and the university's commercial arm QUBIS.

Further funding was also secured from Innovate UK, a government arm's-length body that reports to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Causeway Sensors team has developed a sensor that allows doctors to distinguish between different types of infections in real-time, allowing them to curb the use of ineffective drugs.

The investment will be used for research and development for the project.

Dr Bob Pollard, chief executive of Causeway Sensors, said the team recently took a strategic decision to focus their technology on applications in the medical diagnostics market.

"This investment validates this new strategy and we look forward to growing our team, developing the technology and exploring new market opportunities," he added.

William McCulla of Invest NI said the Queen's spin-out is a "great example" of a company which has used a range of Invest NI support to develop its products.

"The development funds, one of which is managed by Kernel Capital, were specifically designed to help businesses like Causeway Sensors which have the potential to grow in global markets and scale quickly," he said. "This latest investment demonstrates how important these funds are."

Gavin Kennedy, head of business banking at Bank of Ireland, said it is delighted to support the "ambitious and important work" of Causeway Sensors.

"Supporting the growth of local innovative companies and start-ups is a key priority for Bank of Ireland and we look forward to working with the team over the coming years," he added.

In October 2016, Causeway Sensors availed of a £500,000 investment from Kernel Capital to develop nano-structured chips for detecting and measuring proteins.

Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital, said: "Causeway's applied research builds on Northern Ireland's world class leadership in this domain, and they now have the capability to meet a global need in delivering an innovative and efficient point of care system."

The Bank of Ireland's Kernel Capital Growth Fund is designed to help SMEs here accelerate their growth, and Invest NI has committed £15m to the fund, which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Invest NI's research and development support is part-funded under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme.

Belfast Telegraph

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