2 UCD spin-out firms shortlisted for global awards

The IChemE Global Awards are widely considered as the world’s most prestigious chemical-engineering awards.

Two University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out companies have been shortlisted among 120 companies from around the world for the 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards.

The IChemE Global Awards celebrate chemical, process and biochemical engineering excellence, and are widely considered as the world’s most prestigious chemical-engineering awards.

AquaB (AquaB Nanobubble Innovations Ltd) and BioSimulytics are the only Irish entrants shortlisted across 20 award categories.

AquaB was established earlier this year to commercialise a new energy-efficient method to generate and release substantial volumes of metastable, nano-scale gas bubbles in water.

“That AquaB and BioSimultyics are the only Irish entrants included in the shortlist is a reflection of the quality and global potential of the chemical-engineering companies emerging from UCD”

This method is based on research carried out by professor Niall English and Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaani at UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, who are the co-founders of AquaB. The company has been shortlisted in the Water Award category.

BioSimulytics is developing a software solution which only requires the basic 2-D structure of a compound to accurately predict the detailed profiles of all its polymorphic forms, ranked by the most stable, with full certainty achieved within weeks.

This results in up to 50 per cent time saving on the current experimentation method used by drug manufacturers to identify the correct crystal structure of a new drug.

The company, which is also a spin-out from the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, was founded by professor Niall English and Dr Christian Burnham, alongside commercial lead, Peter Doyle. BioSimulytics has been shortlisted for the Business Start-Up Award and the Pharma Award.

“With the skillset and flexibility to adapt to challenges as they occur, during this pandemic we have seen the unwavering efforts of chemical engineers to continue innovating and maintain safe practices”

Professor Niall English, who co-founded of both companies, said, “I am delighted that AquaB and BioSimultytics have both been shortlisted for the prestigious IChemE Global Awards, and will now compete against other companies and research institutions on a global stage.

“That AquaB and BioSimultyics are the only Irish entrants included in the shortlist is a reflection of the quality and global potential of the chemical-engineering companies emerging from UCD.”

AquaB and BioSimulytics were both established with the support of NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD.  

“Our peer-reviewed awards recognise the high standard and significant achievements made by chemical engineers around the world providing solutions to some of toughest challenges faced by society,” added Keith Batchelor, chair of the IChemE Global Awards judging panel.

“With the skillset and flexibility to adapt to challenges as they occur, during this pandemic we have seen the unwavering efforts of chemical engineers to continue innovating and maintain safe practices. Our judges felt it especially important to recognise these efforts this year, just in a virtual way.”

The winners of this year’s IChemE Global Awards will be announced in a series of webinars, showcasing the finalists in November. To find out more about the awards and the shortlisted finalists, visit https://www.icheme.org/career/events/awards/global-awards/.

Pictured (l-r) are members of the BioSimulytics team, Peter Doyle, commercial lead with professor Niall English and Dr Christian Burnham, UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

By Stephen Larkin

Published: 2 October, 2020