Belfast Telegraph

Revolutionary drug delivery system wins leading award

By Margaret Canning

A drug delivery system that could revolutionise cancer treatment has won a prestigious innovation competition.

Phion Therapeutics, developed by Professor Helen McCarthy, won the Invent Awards' top prize of £13,000 in support of her product and a space on a tech mission to California next year.

The awards are run by Connect at Catalyst Inc - the new name for the Northern Ireland Science Park - and supported by Bank of Ireland UK.

Around 600 people attended last night's awards ceremony at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Prof Helen McCarthy, who is based at the school of pharmacy at Queen's University, was delighted to win the competition.

"Phion Therapeutics is the result of 11 years of extensive research involving protein fragments called peptides that could have a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry and revolutionise how drugs are delivered to parts of the human body," she said.

"Phion has been able to concentrate various anionic drugs into tumours while preventing delivery to normal or healthy tissue and cells. This is potentially revolutionary for the treatment of cancer."

More drug classes could be applied to Phion's technology, Professor McCarthy added.

Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland UK's head of business banking, said the invention had the potential to make "an everlasting positive impact on people".

James Leckey, from Leckey Design in Lisburn, took home the Innovation Founder Award for his aids for children and adults with disabilities.

Belfast Telegraph