UCD spin-out OncoMark awarded €2.7m in Horizon 2020 funding

OncoMark, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company, today (9 September 2015) announced that it has been selected for €2.7 million in funding over two years, through the latest round of Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2, to commercially develop a new diagnostic test for breast cancer patients.

OncoMark, headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, focuses on the development of novel panels of cancer biomarkers to aid treatment decisions and allow more tailored patient management, ultimately improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

The award will fund the development and commercialisation of OncoMasTR, a novel prognostic assay to help clinicians decide whether or not a patient with early-stage breast cancer will benefit from a rigorous course of chemotherapy and reduce the number of patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy.

The company, which currently employs 10 individuals, also plans to double its staff numbers over the next two years.

Des O’Leary, Chief Executive Officer, OncoMark said, "Currently, 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. Approximately 30% of patients develop a recurrence of the disease within 10 years after initial surgery and, therefore, require aggressive chemotherapy, but it has been difficult to identify these individuals." 

He added, "We are delighted to announce this award, which will enable us to accelerate the OncoMasTR test from the laboratory to the clinic, as well as creating employment opportunities and promoting the worldwide recognition of Ireland's capabilities in the clinical diagnostics field." 

The OncoMasTR test, which is based on the measurement of biomarkers present in individual patients, will enable a personalised approach to the treatment of patients, ultimately improving their quality of life. 

OncoMark was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney as a spin-out from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science.