Link 7 Winter 2010


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Link 7 Winter 2010

  1. 1. Regional Development CentRe & ReseaRCh offiCe the link issue seven winteR 2010 Novation is up for the challenge Professionals discover hidden talents Water workshop in Uganda Finding commercial apps for biotechWhere research & InnovatIon Meets enterprIse
  2. 2. Contents Foreword 3 Staying positive Cool thinking at ICE 2010 is drawing to a close and for some the end of the year 4 cannot come quickly enough. Start-up scoops A hair-shirt budget, bailed-out €100k prize Regional Development CentRe & ReseaRCh offiCe banks, and a stalling economy the link on the one hand; on the other an Arctic freeze that brought 5 large parts of the country to Novation is up for the challenge Novation firms make Professionals discover hidden talents Water workshop in a standstill. Yes, it’s been a leap of faith Uganda Finding commercial memorable year – for all the apps for biotech Where research & InnovatIon Meets enterprIse wrong reasons. 6 Student entrepreneurs in the making What crumbs of comfort, if any, can be found in developments here at the Regional Development Centre? As far as we are concerned there are plenty. One thing that cannot be stifled by any recession is individual creativity and passion to succeed 7 and in this issue of The Link both of these can be found in Professionals find spades. Personifying this attitude is Kieran Fitzpatrick, CEO hidden talents of Barracuda FX, a software house which employs 20 people in the IFSC in Dublin and which recently scooped a €100,000 prize from InterTradeIreland in its competition for early stage 8 Water workshop in Uganda businesses. Fitzpatrick in recent years has participated in both the Enterprise Start Programme and the Novation Enterprise Platform Programme (NEPP) at the RDC. 9 A different type of operation altogether but no less promising Sensing an is the Ion Channel Biotechnology Centre (ICBC), an Enterprise opportunity Ireland-funded research group at DkIT which focuses on the commercial applications of biotechnology and is making 10 exciting headway in the area of drug discovery. Find out Drug discovery more about its work on page 10. The importance of strategic focus at ICBC research partnerships to DKIT is also highligthed in the articles on pages 9 and 11, concerning the Water is Life research programme led by DKIT researchers from the Centre for 11 Freshwater Studies (CFS) and the formal collaboration recently Answering established between software engineering researchers at DKIT LERO’s call and the LERO CSET funded by Science Foundation Ireland and led by the University of Limerick. 12 Succession planning Here at the RDC we will continue to support entrepreneurs and young businesses as effectively as we can though a varied roster of programmes. An exciting new addition to this is the ICE initiative, a cross-institutional programme which is The Regional Development Centre (RDC) is a centre to promote aiming to fire up the entrepreneurial engines within business. innovation, technology transfer and enterprise in the wider region and is Although still in its early stages, ICE is seen as a radical new based on the DkIT Campus. model for enabling businesses to respond to change in a dynamic and flexible manner. (See article on facing page.) We hope you enjoy these and other stories in this edition of The Link. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding content, or would like to be included on the mailing list, please email Finally, we would like to wish everyone associated with the RDC a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.Issue 7 Regional Development Centre Dublin Road Dundalk Co Louth T | +353 42 9370400 F | +353 42 9370499 Irene McCausland External Services Manager, RDC W | E | Tim McCormac Head of Research, DKITLINK Great care has been taken to ensure that this information is accurate, Front cover: but the Regional Development Centre, including its subsidiaries does not Mountaineer Ian McKeever is pictured descending Aconcagua, western accept responsibility or liability for errors or information which is found Argentina during his successful Seven Summits World Record attempt to be misleading. in 2007. McKeever is to lead a charity climb of Kilimanjaro to mark the tenth anniversary of Novation EPP. See story on page 5. Written & edited by Brian Skelly, The Write Business, + 353 86 857 5829 2
  3. 3. Pictured celebratingthe launch of theICE project were(front row, from left):Irene McCausland,External ServicesManager, DKIT;Professor RichardHarris, Universityof Glasgow; andProfessor Renee Reid,Glasgow CaledonianUniversity. Back row,from left: Ariane DeVriendt, Special EUProgrammes, andProfessor RodneyMcAdam, Universityof Ulster. Cool thinking at ICE A radical new way of enabling at GlaxoSmithKline consumer products, The programme is free to companies to exploit change and attended each of the workshops to participating companies but does adding value by developing new provide an insight into how innovation require each owner manager and business models, products, services can make a difference to a company’s key staff members to commit to and processes is how the Innovation fortunes.” participating in the 12 in-house half- for Competitive Enterprises (ICE) day sessions over the 12 months’ programme in which DkIT is lead Kieran continued, “Companies were duration and committing time partner has been described. then given an overview of the ICE and resources to work through an ICE kicked off with a series of programme and invited to apply for innovation project. nine innovation information and year one of the intensive 12-month recruitment workshops across the main ICE Innovation ‘learning by doing’ DkIT is the lead partner on the ICE three eligible regions of Northern programme.” programme and is collaborating Ireland, Western Scotland and the six with University of Glasgow, Glasgow border counties of Ireland earlier There are four strands to the ICE Caledonian University and the this year. programme: University of Ulster. ICE Programme Manager Kieran • Sharing of information, resources and Kieran Fegan can be contacted via Fegan said, “This programme, which knowledge through a cross-border, email at or by has received €2.49 million from cross-regional network of companies phoning +353 42 939 1038. The ICE the European Union’s Interreg IVA • Access to cross-regional expertise in website is Programme with support from Scottish the third level partner institutes and Enterprise, will seek to develop the business support agencies This project is part financed by the innovation capacity and capability of • Technology transfer and licensing European Unions European Regional 30 SMEs per year for the next three opportunities Development Fund through the EU years. During the initial workshops • Intensive in-house Innovation INTERREG IVA programme managed we gave over 100 company owner Learning Programme coupled with by the Special EU Programmes managers the opportunity to undergo in-company mentoring (‘learning by Body with support from Scottish an innovation audit. Peter Robbins, doing’) Enterprise. the former Head of Global Innovation
  4. 4. R Kieran Fitzpatrick CEO and founder of Barracuda FX on left with Fergus McIlduff, NISP and Maurice Curran, Barracuda FX Co-Founder. Risk and reward: software firm with NEPP roots scoops €100k prize Barracuda FX, a software solutions Sean MacEntee, Manager, Regional Batt O’Keeffe TD, Minister for provider to leading global banks Development Centre, Dundalk Enterprise Trade and Innovation, which has firm roots in Dundalk, has Institute of Technology, said: said: “Barracuda FX is to be won the overall prize of €100,000 in “We’re delighted to see this latest congratulated on their tremendous an InterTradeIreland competition for recognition for Barracuda FX. achievement. They typify high-growth businesses. Smarthomes and mCor Technologies Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit, are other previous Novation using their ideas and vision to Prior to starting Barracuda FX, CEO Enterprise Platform Programme develop innovative products and Kieran Fitzpatrick participated in participants who have gone on to services that break new ground the Enterprise Start Programme at enjoy success in this same all-island and have widespread global the Regional Development Centre competition. We’re committed potential. InterTradeIreland’s in Dundalk Institute of Technology. at the Regional Development flagship competition supports and Subsequently, he completed the Centre to continuing to provide a nurtures entrepreneurship and Centre’s Novation Enterprise Platform productive environment to all those new ventures – key to Ireland’s Programme (NEPP) in 2008-’09. NEPP entrepreneurs developing their recovery and growth. After all, is the Regional Development Centre’s business ideas to the stage where today’s budding entrepreneurs are flagship enterprise development they’re market ready.” tomorrow’s big employers.” programme for technology start-ups. For his part, Mr Fitzpatrick said of the InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Now employing some 20 people at the award: “Taking part in the process competition, with an overall prize International Financial Services Centre helped us refine our business plan. fund of €280,000, aims to recognise (IFSC) in Dublin, Barracuda FX provides Effectively it helped us to take a step and promote the best early stage trading and risk management software back and re-evaluate all aspects of the companies across the island. solutions to international banks. Its business. We are delighted to take Companies are selected followingIssue 7 innovative Foreign Exchange Order home the Best High Growth Company an intense competition designed Management System gives banks prize. It is a validation of our business to mirror a real life investment complete control and confidence to and winning will also help to raise our process. significantly transform their foreign profile. It is a great endorsement forLINK exchange business by increasing the team and it will definitely help us Further information about the revenues, reducing costs and removing attract the highest calibre of staff to Regional Development Centre is operational risk. our business.” available at 4
  5. 5. R Enterprise 5 LINK Tenth Novation NEPP Issue 7 Enterprise Platform charity Programme scales challenge new heights 2011 High-achieving mountaineer Ian McKeever will lead the charity climb of Kilimanjaro in July The 2010/11 Novation Enterprise of the “leap of faith” where they Platform Programme launched climbed a 50-foot pole and jumped To celebrate the 10th anniversary of early November with participants off to catch a strategically placed the Novation EPP programme, which undergoing a challenging three days trapeze. Perhaps it was a measure has supported over 100 technology of training and personal development of the participants on this year’s entrepreneurs in the North East in Carlingford, Co. Louth. programme that only one failed to region, all former participants, trainers, catch hold of the target. mentors and investors are invited The theme of the launch was “Brick to take part in a charity climb of Walls Make Us Climb Higher.” As The NEPP programme celebrates Kilimanjaro, Africas highest peak, in Ian McKeever author, adventurer its 10th anniversary this year and July 2011. and broadcaster put it “brick walls so far has supported over 100 shouldn’t be seen as something to entrepreneurs, many going on to The challenge will be led by Ian stop them (the participants) starting start technology businesses in the McKeever, current world record holder their businesses but as something to North East region. A recent survey for the Seven Summits (the highest remind them how badly they want to indicated employment of over 300 peak in each of the continents) be successful." and annual sales of over €27million. completed in 2007. Ian has brought Amongst the sectors represented over 100 people up Kilimanjaro in Ian had joined the participants to by this year’s group are software Tanzania, each successfully making share his experiences of climbing the development, sports products, the summit. seven highest peaks on the planet energy, food and manufacturing. in 2007 in a world record time of A full training, nutrition and support 155 days. Of particular interest to As a final thought Ian shared the package will be provided and the group was how Ian brought all following with the group: “Never participants can choose to support a the various stakeholders together let the things you cannot do charity of their own or choose one as and created a product or package to interfere with the things that a group. meet their needs in order to fund the you can do!” Advice all of us can challenge. follow... Full details available from Of course each of the participants was Details of Ian’s other adventures can given their own challenge in the guise be found on
  6. 6. Enterprise ACE up Social and healthcare professionals tune into your entrepreneurship sleeve An innovative five-week programme about entrepreneurship aimed at those studying and working in the health and social care arena was recently run by DkIT. A wide range of contributors from social charities, the healthcare profession, academia and DkIT’s Regional Development Centre (RDC) were involved in this non-accredited programme. Developed jointly by the RDC and the School of Health and Science at DkIT the programme was made available via podcast from the ACE website and also went out live to listeners of Dundalk FM, having its own regular weekly slot during the month of November. The course has received widespread attention from major health organisations, trusts and charities. For further information email Enterprise interns roll up sleeves Student enterprise interns in DkIT, Cork IT, IT Blanchardstown and Sligo IT are Creating entrepreneurial graduates getting to grips with, for some, their new roles promoting enterprise and business through a collaborative approach is ownership among their fellow students. the aim of the Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) programme, a The Enterprise Internship Programme is a two-year programme supporting one or joint initiative between IT Blanchardstown, two student interns at the ACE partner institutions listed above, which effectively Cork IT, IT Sligo and NUI Galway and led offers the interns an apprenticeship in applied entrepreneurship. by Dundalk Institute of Technology. This year’s dynamic group met recently at DkIT to participate in an exciting Collaboration means embedding training residential programme focused on developing personal skills such as entrepreneurship education into existing communication, negotiation, presentation and selling. non-business programmes. It also means effecting organisational change within Their first task of the academic year was to publicise the Newstalk 106-108fm and between the various participating Student Enterprise Competition. This competition encourages students to form institutions to reflect the entrepreneurial cross-disciplinary teams to solve real business challenges using a case study activities happening between the academic format. Teams compete for the opportunity to represent their institute and the schools and departments, and incubation winning prize of a luxury Caribbean cruise. and technology transfer offices. The enterprise interns have a wide variety of entrepreneurship activities ACE is supported by the HEAs Strategic planned for the academic year including organising a prestigious speaker series; Innovation Fund, provided by the collaborating in student-led initiatives; assisting staff in curricular activity; leadingIssue 7 Irish Government under the National social and charitable events including Enterprise & Innovation Week promoting Development Plan 2000-2006 with the seed capital funding, challenges and competitions; and generally encouraging assistance of the European Regional and supporting all types of student business activity. Development Fund. For more information visit: 6
  7. 7. Enterprise 7 LINKExperienced professionals Issue 7Discover hidden talentsPictured (L-R) at the launch of the Discovery Programme Pauric White Chairman Louth Economic Forum, Malacy McCloskeyExecutive Group Chairman Boyne Valley Food Group, Joan Martin Town Clerk Drogheda Borough Council, Michael McCabe,Enterprise Officer Louth County Council, Anne Cauldwell Enterprise Ireland, Sean MacEntee, Regional Development Centre,Claudine McGrane, Tom McGuinness, Dept. of Social Welfare, Michael Curran, Louth County Council, Sarah Warden ProgrammeParticipant, Peter McGrane Programme Facilitator, Bernard McKevitt, Dept of Social Welfare and Pat McCloughan.Ten experienced professionals have • How commercial ideas are great support "if youve had an ideacome together to develop new ideas generated for a while, havent been able toand explore ways in which they can progress it, and you want the extrause their skills, experience and talents • Routes to commercialisation push to be able to achieve it."to exploit commercial opportunities.All are receiving support as part of • How successful entrepreneurs The Discovery Zone is not justThe Discovery Zone, a programme have transitioned from manager to about starting a business for thedeveloped by the RDC at DkIT in entrepreneur participants but is also aboutconjunction with Cork IT aimed at discovering themselves. In this respect,unemployed or underemployed • The journey from a good idea to the participants will discover theirprofessionals. It is hoped that many developing a worthwhile business potential and any "road blocks"participants will commercialise ideas opportunity. that may have prevented them fromgenerated during the 12-week achieving their true potential so far.programme. The Discovery Zone will facilitate the This softer side of the course will above by delivering elements which enable the participants to developThe programme provides formal include business workshops, personal a stronger, more robust mentality,training one day a week, along with a skills development, group project making them better able to cope withfurther two days per week facilitated work, individual project work, guest the numerous setbacks encounteredgroup and individual workshops, speakers, case studies, expert inputs, when setting up a new venture.mentoring and access to the facilities external visits and mentoring.of the RDC. There is particular Currently there are over 1,000emphasis on personal development The RDC intends to run a further unemployed professionals in Countyduring the programme. three Discovery Zone programmes Louth . The Discovery Zone aims during 2011. This pilot project to address this issue in a small butIn addition to no charge for focuses on County Louth and has strategic way by accepting a groupparticipation on The Discovery Zone, been co-funded by Louth County of between eight and 12 participantssocial welfare benefits will not Council and Enterprise Ireland . on each 12-week programme. Thebe affected by attendance on the candidates undergo an interview, andprogramme. Already the initial course, which if successful, are offered a place on the is nearing the half-way stage, has programme. The first programme willHaving completed the programme, received very positive feedback. The conclude in February 2011, with theeach participant will have a better participants are especially delighted next scheduled to begin the followingunderstanding and appreciation of: with the personal development and month. For details contact the level of training and support• How their career to date is an asset offered. that can be used for further benefit This pilot project focuses on County Louth Dervla McGee, a current participant, and has been co-funded by Louth County• How opportunities are created by noted, "The Discovery Zone has given Council and Enterprise Ireland. those with skill and determination to me the motivation and support to explore them succeed in my business."• A methodology for testing the Tom Laramie, a fellow participant, commercial viability of new ideas said The Discovery Zone offered
  8. 8. Research A key feature of the morning session was the presence of high-level ministry officials from the Ugandan government. A strategic aim of Irish Aid funding is to bring about change not just on the ground but at policy level also. To this end Dr Callist Tindmuguya, Commissioner with the Ministry of Water & Environment, spoke about Water Policy in Uganda . Dr Tindmuguya is also a member of the Water is Life Advisory Group and has many years of experience dealing with water- provision issues. Julian Kyomuhangi, Assistant Commissioner at the Ministry of Health, made an address on sanitation and hygiene in relation to health. Successful water provision cannot be separated from sanitation and health issues, so this was a welcome and informative session. Peter Oumu, Economist with Irish Aid Dr Edel Healy, Head in Kampala , broadened the discussion of School of Health with an address entitled ‘Millennium and Science at DkIT Development Goals and Uganda - how on the equator. Ireland is contributing’. In the afternoon, Josephine Asasira, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Manager, Water Is Life, delivered a presentation Ideas flow at Ugandan on the role of GIS in the project and updated the group on the computer- based maps that she has produced from water workshop initial project data. These maps will be invaluable for linking and monitoring aspects of the water infrastructure and health effects locally. Exploring the issue of sustainable of the opportunity that they had been water management in Uganda was given through project funding by The main body of the Water is Life the subject of a high-level workshop Irish Aid. He also thanked the Medical research is being carried out by eight hosted recently in Kampala by DkIT, Missionaries of Mary (MMMs), the PhD researchers. One year in, each of in collaboration with Makerere linchpin for the project on the ground, these updated the meeting on their University, Kampala, Uganda. for choosing Uganda as one of its progress which provided the basis for focus countries. the group discussion that was Entitled ‘How can we make a to follow: difference - making research real’, Ambassador Kelly spoke about the workshop, held on 3 November, the long history of co-operation Sam Kagwisagye Sourcing of sustainable provided a platform for academic between Ireland and Uganda . He groundwater supplies partners, key stakeholders, community also talked about how institutional Michael Lubwama Sustainable pump leaders, representatives of non- research work on this project would technologies governmental organisations (NGOs) yield transformational results in Rosemary Nalwanga Solar disinfection of and high-level officials to exchange the lives of ordinary Ugandans. Dr harvested rainwater views and practical experiences related Suzanne Linnane from the Centre for to local Ugandan water issues. Freshwater Studies and lead Jacent Asiimwe Solar disinfection of researcher on the ‘Water is Life’ drinking water (health impacts) Joyce Mpalanyi Magala Social & healthIssue 7 Professor Eli Katunguka, Director project gave an overview of this of Academic Affairs at Makerere multidisciplinary project which impacts on women & children University and Irish Ambassador to involves academic partnerships with Mavuto Denis Tembo Adaptation of water Uganda HE Kevin Kelly opened the DCU, RCSI, UCD, TCD, QUB and NUIM. management to climate change event. Prof Katunguka emphasised the Through eight PhD projects, ‘Water Richard Asaba Bagonza Gender & waterLINK need for research to respond to the is Life’ aims to examine various resource management needs of society. He encouraged the themes around sustainable water Firminus Mugumya Conflict and project participants to take advantage management. Cooperation in Local Water Governance. 8
  9. 9. Research 9 LINK Environmental gasAs the researchers are drawn from avariety of academic disciplines, one aim Issue 7of the event was to share information monitoring at DkITso that the cross-cutting issues thatinform aspects of all of the researchcould be fully dealt with. Participantsbrainstormed in groups on enhancing Shahzad Imar, PhDcommunity engagement, embedding researcher in theresearch outputs within community Electrochemistryprojects and maintaining an influence Research Group,on water policy. The outcomes of these employing modernsessions are in the process of being electrochemicaldistilled so that the future work of techniques to studyWater is Life can be driven by them. modified electrode systems for sensingDr Edel Healy, Head of School of Health applications.and Science, DkIT, chaired the event.As chair of the steering committeethat organised this event, Dr Healy wasvery keen to make sure that ordinaryUgandan villagers would be representedat the workshop. “The workshop themerefers to making research real. It wasessential that those people who stand Frost & Sullivan1 in its 2009 market • Possess high sensitivities with high to benefit most in a tangible way research report stated that the dynamic rangeswould be present to represent their “revenue percentage of the agriculturecommunities,” she pointed out. and environment market for sensors • Will operate in dual sensing mode so as in 2008” was 2% each of the global to eliminate environmental factorsGerald Majjwega, Kibuye community sensors market, with the compound such as worker and Joseph Kabogere, annual growth rate projected to beKuvunikidde community health worker 48.5% for wireless sensor systems The group is in early stage discussionsand teacher questioned the presenters up to 2013. The gas sensor market with several key Irish based industrialclosely and offered a vital perspective is currently in a stable growth stage partners in relation to potentialon the desirable outcomes that they with increasing revenues predicted commercial opportunities that maywould like to see stemming from the for the future. More specifically, the arise as the technology is developed.research. The event concluded with gas detector global market has been The group has over 20 years scientificgroup workshops examining themes estimated to be $1,690 million in 2009 experience within the field oflike promotion and measurement with a projected revenue growth rate electrochemistry, in particular, theof community engagement, how to of 3.3%, with Europe generating the design of chemically modified electrodeembed research in the community and second largest revenues at a value of systems for sensor applications. Theinfluence of the research on water $507 million (2009) with associated employment of tailor-made materialspolicy. predicted revenue of $652.3 million as sensing elements within chemical by 2016.2 sensors and as surface immobilisationThe workshop was very well matrixes for sensor systems is a keyattended (almost 50 attendees) with The Electrochemistry Research focus of the group. In addition, to therepresentatives from the project Group at DKIT is combining the twin groups scientific and technical expertise,stakeholders, academics from Makerere technologies of electrochemistry the team has in place the requiredUniversity , NGOs and Ministry officials. and Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) scientific infrastructure such as, suite ofThe organisers were especially pleased devices to develop a Technology modern electrochemical potentiostatsto have Sr Celine Jones from the MMMs Platform for environmental sensor and network analysers for thin filmin Makondo and Sr Helene Delaney, applications. Of particular importance deposition and sensor measurements.MMM in Hobart, Masaka attend. The is the development of gas detectionworkshop was closed by Prof Samuel systems for volatile and toxic gases, For more information please contactKyamanywa, Dean of Agriculture, for both the home and workplace Dr Tim McCormac (Head ofMakerere University . environments. It is envisaged this will Electrochemistry Research Group) enable the development of gas sensors Tel: +353 42 9370459Extensive media coverage in Uganda which: Email: tim.mccormac@dkit.iewas given to the event including a slot • Are in small size and low in cost; 1 Frost & Sullivan 2009 “Sensors foron the Nine O’ Clock news on national Agriculture and Environmenttelevision. • Can be tailored to be gas specific; Monitoring”More information: • Give reliable, reversible and 2 Frost and Sullivan 2009 “World Gaswaterislife. reproducible responses; Sensors, Detectors and Analysers Markets”
  10. 10. Research ICBC carves promising niche in drug safety The Ion Channel Biotechnology Centre the achievers and non-achievers. For the cells and is measured at the skin surface. (ICBC) at Dundalk Institute of Technology have-nots especially, innovation in this However, drugs that are associated with is an Enterprise Ireland (EI) funded centre new environment will require increasing potentially lethal irregular heart rhythms focused on commercial applications in efficiencies, de-risking drug development, (arrhythmias) may not show an observable biotechnology, including drug discovery. more effective collaborations, efficiencies effect in ECGs due to the relatively small The Centre, funded through EI’s Applied in R&D and operations and appropriate number of episodes that can be picked Research Enhancement (ARE) Programme, levels of risk management. up. Drugs such as terfenadine (marketed works with discovery biology groups in as Seldane®) were withdrawn from the industry and has its own drug discovery Most pressing is the need for early market after extensive use over a period programme. elimination of bad drug candidates; of several years lead to the conclusion taking the “kill it quick” approach to drug of an association of the drug with A multi-disciplinary approach to drug development and spending more time and arrhythmias. Terfenadine had an incidence development allows the research money at the early stages, reducing the of only one in 28,500 prescriptions and team to observe effects of potential risk of late-stage costly failures. Companies grepafloxicin (Raxar®) was withdrawn due drug candidates on whole tissue and and investors alike are beginning to to seven cardiac related deaths and three electrophysiology studies and feed back understand the importance of laying the cases of arrhythmias out of 2.65 million this information in an iterative manner to right foundations rather than adopting prescriptions. It should be apparent then the medicinal chemistry lab. This approach a more familiar approach of ploughing that identifying this level of risk in a clinical has been tremendously valuable and so far forward with a lead candidate and putting trial involving a few thousand patients over 60 novel drug candidates have been all resources into a single product which so is unlikely. Most adverse cardiac events synthesised and patent applications are often historically, has failed. are picked up during post-marketing underway. This small scale but innovative surveillance or once a drug has been on approach has garnered a great deal of Cardiac toxicity is most often cited as the market for some time. interest from the pharmaceutical industry the primary cause of drug withdrawals. due to the novelty of the drug candidates, When a drug affects the synchronicity In this complex web of molecular being first in class in many instances. of the heartbeat it can be a life or death interactions, it is no surprise that the ion situation, as the orchestrated electrical channels of the heart are the key critical Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry activity of cardiac cells cause the heart mediators of the heart beat and ion takes many forms. The common belief is muscle to contract and squeeze/pump channels are the targets on which these that innovation leads to new medicines, blood around the body. This has become drugs act to produce arrhythmias. The and that this is of utmost importance in such a critical issue for new drugs that the culprit in the vast majority of cases of the drug industry as we search for cures in regulatory authorities including the Food drug-induced adverse cardiac events is an major disease areas and seek to improve and Drug Administration (FDA) has set out ion channel that conducts the potassium the quality of life of patients. It has been guidelines for studies that are required to ion and is encoded by a gene called hERG. increasingly recognised that the cost of advance a drug into human clinical trials, Blockade of hERG underlies the adverse this innovation in large multinational and indeed through these trials. events associated with a number of companies is spiralling, and the outcomes blockbuster drugs that were not designedIssue 7 of massive R&D programmes is diminishing Understanding the potential of drugs to to impact the heart, including cisapride rapidly. create such lethal side effects while they (Propulsid), astemizole, grepafloxicin and are in early development is a difficult terfenadine. Against this backdrop, Ernst & Young task that requires a deep understanding in its 2010 report declared for the first of the molecular basis of the heart beat. As a result of the comprehensiveLINK time that the biotechnology industry is The electrocardiogram (ECG) that we evaluation of new drug candidates “profitable”, yet a closer assessment of are all familiar with is a measure of the imposed by the regulatory authorities the figures reveals a massive gap between sum of the action potentials in all heart the design and expense of clinical trials10
  11. 11. 11 11 LINK LINK DKIT formally Issue 7 Issue 7 joins LERO Third Level Institutions join forces to advance software research Dr Tim McCormac, Head of Research, DkIThas also gone up in parallel. The needfor more careful planning at the earlieststages of drug development is nowproving even more critical, and hERGsafety analysis is a key component of this.These safety assessments are a critical firststep and a core competence of the ICBC LERO, the Irish Software Engineering McCormac said: “We are delightedteam. Adding to the toolbox of the team Research Centre, recently announced that DKIT is formally joining one ofwe have in-licensed technology to assist that Dundalk Institute of Technology Ireland ’s leading research the assessment of toxicity of drugs at (DkIT) and National University of This underlines the internationalthe earliest stage of development and Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) have quality of the software engineeringwe attempt to derive cardiac side effect entered into a formal collaboration research currently being undertakenprofiles for each of our drug candidates, to further advance the enormous by the researchers at DKIT and weand for external companies that are strides made in Irish software look forward to playing our part ininterested in this type of service. At ICBC research in recent years. ensuring Ireland ’s work in this areawe understand the molecular basis of the continues to have a global impact.”cardiac action potential and the role that DkIT and NUI Galway will nowion channels have to play; we understand formally collaborate on projects, Lero was established in Novemberthe importance of hERG safety analysis. including EU Framework Programme 2005 with support from ScienceWe use an assay that over-expresses the 7 projects and in software research. Foundation Ireland ’s CSEThERG ion channel, allowing analysis of (Centre for Science, Engineeringdrug effects on this ion channel in relative Lero, which is based in the University and Technology) programme. Itisolation. We have also taken this a step of Limerick (UL), UCD, TCD and DCU, is a collaborative organisation,further incorporating other ion channels has been working with DkIT and embracing the software engineeringin the heart and have a separate assay for NUI Galway for some time but this is research activities in the Universitysodium ion channels (NaV1.5), another the first time that the collaboration of Limerick (UL partner), Dublin Citykey mediator of cardiac contractility. We has been formalised, a significant University , Trinity College Dublinhave recently completed the first sweep development for the impact of Irish and University College Dublin.of studies for Berand Neuropharmacology software research on the worldusing Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation stage. Lero focuses on specific domains,Voucher programme to fund this work especially those where reliabilityas a test bed for ICBC services, and as Commenting on the collaboration, is crucial, including automotive,a benefit to the client who needs to the Director of Lero, Prof Mike aerospace, medical devices,know what to look for in planning the Hinchey said: “We are very pleased telecommunications and financialdevelopment of new drug candidates. to join with DkIT and NUI Galway services. Lero develop models,ICBC is the only organisation in Ireland in a formal collaboration to further methods and tools that make itthat offers hERG liability testing and we enhance the profile of Irish software cheaper, faster or easier to producehope to become the go-to organisation research on a global basis. It has this crucial software.for cardiac toxicity profiling of new drug been extremely worthwhile andcandidates. productive to work with these More information: excellent institutions in the pastFor further information on the work of and we look forward to excitingthe ICBC visit or email mary. developments in the future.” Head of Research at DkIT Dr Tim
  12. 12. News Case studies Getting a A series of events and workshops has already taken place since the Irish launch of the programme in March book due helping 2010. One recent workshop held in Cavan Crystal provided participants out in spring hand with with five interactive sessions relating to the topic “Family Business: Sell succession or Keep?” The workshop focused 2011 on the financial aspects of family business succession, specifically tax Lecturers in higher education in plans issues/implications and strategic and financial development plans. Ireland will soon have another Psychological considerations such as The Success Through Succession (STS) valuable resource to support family business values, ownership programme is proving to be a winner the teaching of enterprise and readiness and emotional adjustment with family businesses in the six entrepreneurship thanks to a book models were also covered. southern border counties, providing of cases commissioned under the them with individual succession plans Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship The workshop was delivered by the for the future of their businesses. (ACE) initiative. STS expert team, the family business unit at BDO Simpson Xavier and Eleven companies from diverse family business practitioners in the[e] Due to be published in spring 2011, the industry sectors including engineering, compilation will enhance the quality border region. The next workshop medical devices, construction, crafts, and quantity of informative teaching will take place in Enniskillen, transport, food manufacturing and cases for entrepreneurship (Levels 6-9). County Fermanagh and will focus textiles were selected to receive 12 All cases are set in the Irish context and on preparing the succession process, months of support to explore the are relevant to both commercially and focusing in particular on ‘reactive’ issues involved and then develop socially oriented ventures. and ‘proactive’ transitions. and implement their succession[t] 042 9327943 plan. They were: AmRay Medical, The cases focus on organisations and Recruitment for the next programme Crowes Quality Meats, Dunview Ltd, individuals from diverse industry will begin in spring 2011. If you are Ferm Engineering, Glenmore Linen, sectors and are authored by teaching interested in applying for the programme Matthews Coach Hire, Parkes Garage, staff, experts and mentors involved please contact: Dr Cecilia Hegarty, STS Silverstream Gardeners World, Wakelyelement design with growing commercially viable Programme Manager, by email to: Engineering, Ward Automation and ventures. or Tel: + 353 42 Wright Quarry Products. 9370422. The management and staff of the Regional Development Centre would Starting Out or Need a Base for like to wish all our clients, your R&D Activities? colleagues and partners a very Happy Christmas and a Incubation The Regional Development Centre has top class Facilities and Business Supports both on-campus in DkIT prosperous New Year. and Off-Campus in Millmount, Drogheda. For further details contact: Sean MacEntee on [t] 042 9370400 [e] [w]