Kernel Capital Invests £500k In Queen's University Spin-out

From left: Jayne Brady, partner, Kernel Capital; Dr Bob Pollard, CEO, Causeway Sensors; William McCulla, director of corporate finance, Invest NI; and Odhran McNeilly, business adviser, Bank of Ireland UK. Image: Kernel Capital

Kernel Capital has announce a £500k investment in Causeway Sensors, a spin-out from Queens University Belfast (QUB).

The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI) was designed to help SMEs in Northern Ireland to accelerate their growth. Invest Northern Ireland has committed £15 million of funding to this fund which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014-2020.

Founded by fellow QUB Academics Dr. Robert Pollard, Prof. Robert Bowman and Dr. John Nelson, the company have developed novel nanostructured chips for sensing applications accompanied with a reading device for the detection and measurement of various proteins (antibodies). Causeway Sensors is focussed on the global biosensor industry which is expected to reach over $22 billion by 2020.

The Company's pioneering technology has emerged from 10+ years of research in Queens University which was partly supported by Invest NI via a R&D Grant. The capability to sense the presence of low levels of proteins and their interactions means that Causeway's technology can be used as a diagnostic instrument across multiple applications including the detection of early-stage cancer and other diseases, food security and drug discovery.

Causeway Sensors will use this investment to commercialise its technology, with an initial focus on the growing area of medical diagnostics.

"It is great to see another Queens University spin-out thriving. Causeway Sensors is a prime example of the success that can be achieved from bringing a concept through the 'Research to Commercialisation' process. This investment will therefore help Causeway to develop the potential of its nanotechnology, and to grow and scale both nationally and internationally, while also stimulating the local economy and creating new employment opportunities in areas where Northern Ireland has world class leadership."

Jayne Brady, Partner, Kernel Capital "We are delighted to secure investment from Kernel Capital through The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund. This investment is a great confidence boost for Causeway Sensors and will allow us to expedite our growth plans to commercialise and scale our technology. Together with continued support from both Kernel and QUBIS, the company is focused on delivering on our innovation roadmap." Dr. Bob Pollard, CEO, Causeway Sensors

"Invest NI's suite of Access to Finance funds provides a continuum of support - from Proof of Concept to develop a product or service solution, through to supporting established businesses to invest in growth. Our Development Funds were specifically designed to help businesses like Causeway Sensors - local innovative companies that have the potential to grow in global markets. This latest investment demonstrates how important these funds are."

William McCulla, Director Corporate Finance, Invest NI. "Causeway Sensors is a great example of Northern Ireland business creating value through pioneering technology. We look forward to working with the team at Causeway Sensors to support their growth plans."

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