Clonmel-based start-up Shorla Pharma, which makes cancer drugs, has raised €7.4m in a Series A investment round.

Started in 2018 by Sharon Cunningham and Orlaith Ryan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, start-up Shorla focuses on developing oncology drugs with a focus on rare, orphan and paediatric cancers.

Both founders met while working at EirGen Pharma in Waterford. Shorla is based at Questum, a Clonmel-based accelerator.

“Shorla, led by two female founders, is a highly innovative company developing new solutions to critical issues in the oncology area. It is also particularly heartening to see this company starting in a regional location”

Together with a strong team of scientists, clinicians and an extensive industry network, the company has an advanced pipeline of innovative drug products to treat a number of unmet patient needs. The funding will support the advancement of the product pipeline, along with expansion of technical and commercial operations in both Ireland and the US.

Impactful treatments

Two women at a pharma conference.

Shorla founders Orlaith Ryan and Sharon Cunningham

The €7.4m ($8.3m) financing round was led by Seroba Life Sciences with additional investment from Irish and Canadian based family offices and participation from Enterprise Ireland.

“This significant investment will provide the necessary resource to further advance the product pipeline through health authority registration and commercialisation which will ultimately create valuable and clinically impactful treatments that improve patient outcomes,” said Orlaith Ryan of Shorla.

The funding will support the advancement of the product pipeline, along with expansion of technical and commercial operations in both Ireland and the US.

“We are delighted to support Shorla and to be part of this investment round,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.

“Ireland is widely recognised as a centre for the global life sciences industry as well as a leader in medtech and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Helping to maintain that reputation, Shorla, led by two female founders, is a highly innovative company developing new solutions to critical issues in the oncology area. It is also particularly heartening to see this company starting in a regional location.

“Earlier this year, the Enterprise Ireland ‘Action Plan for Women in Business’ cited that less than 10pc of VC funding is going to companies with women founders. This investment is consistent with that action plan in terms of developing a larger number of companies of scale led by female founders. It is fantastic to have a role model like Shorla to demonstrate what’s possible. I wish the team luck with the project and congratulate the company on its success to date,” said Sinnamon.

Pictured at top: Shorla founders Orlaith Ryan and Sharon Cunningham

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 June, 2020

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