Hooke Bio is operating in the early stages of drug discovery


UL spin-out Hooke Bio is a new company operating in the early stages of drug discovery. The company won the gold award in the Medtech Startup category at the final of the National Startup Awards, which are backed by Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Hooke Bio has developed a unique ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) microfluidic platform that allows unlimited drug screening at the crucial early drug discovery phase.

Hooke Bio draws its strength from the close co-operation it has between its team of biologists and engineers. The engineers design, test and optimise new microfluidic technology: the scientists apply the technology to finding new therapeutic uses for existing drugs.

There has been increasing interest over the last ten years in repurposing known drugs in novel combinations. Many permutations of drug combinations have to be tested to better test of the drug combination is effective. Hooke Bio has developed a new technology platform that allows mass drug screening tests to be run. Hooke Bios new technology platform allows such screening to be completed 20 times faster and at a quarter of the cost of current commercial systems.   

The primary focus of Hooke bio is on drug combinations, however, their technology is highly adaptable and can be easily repurposed for:

  • Disease modelling
  • Drug discovery
  • Drug repurposing
  • Mammalian organ synthesis
  • Toxicity testing of chemicals
  • Compound screening
  • Microbial screening
  • Personalised drug optimisation
  • Reaction optimisation

Founder, Prof Mark Davies joined UL over 25 years ago and has extensive experience in commercialising research. Prof. Davies previously co-founded Stokes Bio which went on to be one of the biggest university spinout acquisitions in the history of the state when it was sold to Life Technologies in 2010 . Prof. Davies holds numerous patents from his time at Stokes Bio as well as recent patent applications related to Hooke Bio. He is a fellow of the US National Academy of Inventors.

Hooke Bio CEO and co-founder, Dr Mark Lyons, holds a DPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and previously held positions at Radisens Diagnostics and Olympus Diagnostics. He has a background in assay and platform development and industrialisation in the areas of microfluidics, cellular biology, immunoassay and clinical chemistry.

Dr Finola Cliffe, COO and co-founder has a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Limerick and previously held positions at Monaghan Biosciences and Vistakon Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Cliffe was formerly a Research Fellow at the Stokes Institute. She has particular interest in cell culture and process optimisation. https://www.hookebio.com/