OncomarkOncoMark, a UCD spin-out company,is set to receive €2.7 million in funding from the Horizon 2020 SME programme. Founded by Dr William Gallagher and Steve Penney, the company operates out of NovaUCD and currently employs 10 people.

The money will be used to help develop OncoMasTR, a cancer biomarker which helps doctors to best assess how to treat a patient with early stage breast cancer. Des O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer of OncoMark, said that “the majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy, despite many not benefiting from such treatment, thereby exposing individuals to severe side effects.”

The OncoMasTR will aim to reduce the number of patients being treated with chemotherapy in cases where it is unnecessary. O’Leary said that the funding would help accelerate the development of the project, along with “creating employment opportunities and promoting the worldwide recognition of Ireland’s capabilities in the clinical diagnostics field.”

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s programme for research and innovation. It was launched in 2014, and is set to run up until 2020. Every year, it makes funding available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the EU. Two other Irish start-ups, Luxcel Biosciences and Arralis, were also awarded finance during this round of the programme. 34 Irish SMEs have now been funded as part of Horizon 2020.

Words by Cian Carton, News Editor