Naiad, an Irish 3D biotechnology company, has won University College Dublin’s (UCD) 2018 Start-Up of the Year Award. The company also received a €32,000 prize fund, as part of the 2018 UCD Venture Launch Accelerator Programme.
As one of six emerging UCD start-ups, Naiad is developing a novel liquid-based 3D bioprinter that helps researchers fabricate highly-reproducible and realistic 3D tissue models.
“We are strongly committed to delivering impact from our research and innovation activities which are essential drivers of a dynamic economy,” said Tom Flanagan, Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation, UCD.
“Through our Venture Launch 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.”
Naiad and 3D bioprinting technology
Naiad was founded by Emmanuel G. Reynaud, Associate Professor at the UCD School of Biomolecular and Brian Rodriguez, Senior Lecturer in the UCD School of Physics. Both founders are also fellows of the UCD Conway Institute.
The company was formed with a focus on improving drug toxicity and efficacy trials, ultimately reducing the high attrition rates (ratios regarding the loss of participants during an experiment) associated with drug discovery.
3D bioprinters can deposit thin layers of cells using a bioprint head and use bio-ink, or bioprocess protocols, to build organic materials. The novel liquid-based 3D bioprinter being developed by Naiad will enable additively manufactured tissue models that “better mimic the rich complexity of human tissues.” Professor Reynaud 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.”
In addition to the 2018 UCD Start-Up of the Year Award, Naiad received a cheque for €10,000 from Ireland’s AIB, and a professional services package valued at €10,000 from Bryan Maguire Business Consulting and Deloitte.
The UCD Venture Launch Accelerator Programme
The annual three-month UCD Venture Launch Accelerator Programme is designed to support the creation and acceleration of sustainable and profitable new ventures from intellectual UCD property. Flanagan 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 Venture Launch 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.”
Recently, UCD opened the $25.7 million I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Research Center for 3D printing and digital technologies. The facility was funded through the government-backed Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry stakeholders.
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Featured image shows Professor Reynaud developing the Naiad 3D bioprinter. Photo via UCD.