AquaB Nanobubble Innovations Ltd (AquaB) and BioSimulytics have been shortlisted for the 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards. These University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out companies are the only Irish entrants shortlisted across twenty categories.

The awards celebrate excellence in chemical, process, and biochemical engineering. “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,” said Keith Batchelor, Chair of the IChemE Global Awards volunteer judging panel. “Our judges felt it especially important to recognise these efforts this year, just in a virtual way.”

AquaB is shortlisted for the Water Award. The company has developed a new method to make nano-bubbles of gases in aqueous solution. This technology can be applied to water treatment, tissue preservation and more. The research was conducted by AquaB’s co-founders, Professor Niall English and Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaani at UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

BioSimulytics is shortlisted for both the Pharma, and Business Start-Up Awards. The company has made a breakthrough in crystal structure prediction which can be applied in the pharmaceutical and agricultural chemistry fields. It allows for faster identification of the correct crystal structure of a new drug. The co-founders are Professor Niall English and Dr Christian Burnham, the commercial lead is Peter Doyle. This research was also carried out at UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

28/11/2019 – NEWS – BioSimulytics Wins University College Dublin’s 2019 Start-Up of the Year Award Business, 28 November 2019, 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

Professor Niall English, one of the co-founders of both companies and a Fellow of the IChemE, said, “I am delighted that AquaB and BioSimulytics have both been shortlisted for the prestigious IChemE Global Awards, and will now compete against other companies and research institutions on a global stage. It is a reflection of the quality and global potential of the chemical-engineering companies emerging from UCD.”

Both companies were supported by NovaUCD, which is the innovation hub at UCD, where BioSimulytics have their headquarters. Here, new high-tech companies are supported as part of UCD’s mission. At NovaUCD there are purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.

BioSimulytics won the 2019 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, held at NovaUCD. AquaB will participate in this year’s programme. Tom Flanagan, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation said, in congratulating the companies, “The objective of VentureLaunch is to equip UCD researchers with the knowledge, skills and understanding that they will require to work as part of a team-leading a new commercial venture onto the global stage.”

The winners of this year’s IChemE Global Awards will be announced in November via a series of webinars, which will be free to attend and open to the public.

Éimear Dowling – Business Writer