Causeway Sensors raises £1.5m

25 years of research results in a patented Nano Sensor Platform.

Queen’s University Belfast campus company Causeway Sensors has raised £1.5m in funding led by the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund and existing investors.

The investment consists of £1.3m from the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund and £250,000 from existing investor QUBIS.

“This latest round of funding is the final stepping-stone on the path to commercialisation of Causeway’s technology”

Causeway Sensors was established in 2016 and its patented Nano Sensor Platform is the result of five years of high impact research and development following twenty years of pure research at Queens University Belfast.

Speeding time to market

To make a new biological drug, pharmaceutical companies need to screen millions of candidates and to highly characterise potential leads. Current instrumentation can only capture this critical data after protracted incubation periods.

This increases the lead time and risk in taking a drug to market.  To address this problem, Causeway are developing what may be the world’s first Nano Sensor Platform that can be integrated directly into a bioreactor unlocking key data in real-time. These inline sensors may reduce risk, improve decision making and enable new drugs to be brought to market faster.

Earlier this year it was confirmed that Causeway Sensors Limited was awarded £3.3m in grant support from UK Research & Innovation as part of the Smart Nano NI consortium, led by Seagate Technology and also featuring another joint Kernel Capital / QUBIS portfolio company, Cirdan Imaging.

“This latest round of funding is the final stepping-stone on the path to commercialisation of Causeway’s technology and I want to take the opportunity to thank our investors for their continued support on our journey,” said Antony Murphy, CEO of Causeway Sensors.

“This investment, along with the competitive grant-funding we were awarded from UKRI, will put Causeway in a strong position to fully validate our first product with blue-chip pharmaceutical companies before entering the bioproduction market.”

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) was designed to help SMEs in Northern Ireland to accelerate their growth. Invest Northern Ireland has committed £15m of funding to this fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020. Invest NI’s R&D support is part funded by ERDF under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

“There is an unmet need for instrumentation that can provide high value data in real time, online, throughout the drug development process, we believe Causeway Sensors can deliver on that need,” explained Niall Olden, managing partner, Kernel Capital.

QUBIS is the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University, Belfast. Formed in 1984 it has a long and strong track–record in creating new technology start–ups, and otherwise helping commercialise leading–edge technology from the Queen’s research base.

In co-ordination with the investment the board and executive team have been enhanced and restructured. This includes Dr Bob Pollard, Founder taking on the role of Executive President, Dr Antony Murphy is promoted to Chief Executive Officer and Deirdre Francis, formerly of Intelesens has been appointed to the newly created role of Finance Director.

“Causeway is a great example of the deep tech that exists within the current QUBIS portfolio and we are delighted to once again support the team with their plans to bring this ground breaking technology into the market,” added David Moore, head of Spin-outs & Investments, QUBIS.

Main image at top (from left): Denise Sidhu, Partner, Kernel Capital; Dr Antony Murphy, CEO, Causeway Sensors; Dr Bob Pollard, Founder, Causeway Sensors & David Moore, Head of Spin-outs & Investments, QUBIS

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.