Naiad, an emerging life sciences venture, has won University College Dublin’s (UCD) 2018 Start-Up of the Year Award. Naiad won the Award, and a €32,000 prize fund, after being declared overall winner of the 2018 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.
Naiad is developing a novel liquid-based 3D bioprinting technology that helps researchers fabricate highly-reproducible 3D tissue models that better mimic the rich complexity of human tissues. In replacing ineffective models currently used, Naiad’s technology will help to improve drug toxicity and efficacy trials, thereby reducing the high attrition rates associated with drug discovery.
The founders of Naiad are Assistant Professor Emmanuel G. Reynaud, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and Professor Brian Rodriguez, UCD School of Physics, both of whom are fellows of the UCD Conway Institute.
Assistant Professor Emmanuel G. Reynaud, co-founder, Naiad, said, “We are delighted to have won the 2018 UCD Start-up of the Year Award which acknowledges the hard work, dedication and progress of the entire team over the last number of years.”
He added, “We are now seeking to raise an initial €750,000 in funding to support and expand our test sites in leading research institutes and to build our team in anticipation of our first commercial release.”
He concluded, “Naiad is the result of collaborative research at UCD which has been funded to date by Enterprise Ireland and I would like to acknowledge their contribution to our success. I would also like to acknowledge the great support of NovaUCD, the VentureLaunch facilitators, and specifically all of the VentureLaunch participants for their invaluable feedback and support.”
The overall objective of the annual three-month UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, which is delivered at NovaUCD, is to support the creation, and to accelerate the launch of sustainable and profitable new ventures based on intellectual property emerging from UCD.
The programme aims is to equip UCD researchers with the knowledge, skills and understanding that is required to work as part of a team successfully leading a new commercial venture with global potential.
Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD said, “At University College Dublin we are strongly committed to delivering impact from our research and innovation activities which are essential drivers of a dynamic economy. Through our VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme we are supporting the UCD research community to deliver such impact by assisting them to accelerate the establishment of new companies which have global market potential.”
He added, “I would like to congratulate the founders of Naiad on winning this year’s programme and I wish them, and all the programme participants, every commercial success in the years ahead.”
In addition to the 2018 UCD Start-up of the Year Award Naiad was presented with a cheque for €10,000 sponsored by AIB, and a professional services package to the value of €10,000 sponsored by Bryan Maguire Business Consulting and Deloitte. The overall winner will also receive incubation space at NovaUCD to the value of €12,000.
The 2018 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme evaluation panel, which selected the overall winner following pitches by the six programme finalists, was chaired by Dr Helen McBreen, Investment Director, Atlantic Bridge.
The other members of the panel were; Sean Baker, NovaUCD Entrepreneur in Residence, Eddie Buckley, Head of AIB Dublin South and Sarah-Jane Larkin, Director-General, Irish Venture Capital Association.
The 2018 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme Showcase and Awards event took place as part of Startup Week Dublin.