Ellen Cahill

Microneedle platform picks up UCD commercialisation award

Ellen Cahill, PhD student, UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering

14 December 2016

An early-stage medtech venture developing a new microneedle platform technology has won a University College Dublin commercialisation award.

Micro Needle Slow-Mo was named overall winner of the 2016 UCD MedTech Innovation Sprint Programme, a one-day initiative designed and delivered by UCD’s technology transfer and enterprise development teams at NovaUCD.

The device was developed by Ellen Cahill, a PhD student in the UCD Medical Device Design Group at the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, who was presented with a €500 professional service prize fund.

Microneedle patches are microsystem devices used to painlessly pierce an individual’s skin creating a pathway for therapeutic drug delivery.

Many such needles have been designed for use in vaccine and therapeutic drug delivery. However, there is demand for biofunctional or stimulus responsive microneedles which can deliver a slow, sustained release of therapeutic drugs through a cost-effective, scalable process.

To solve this issue Micro Needle Slow-Mo has designed and developed a new type of microneedle. This new microneedle platform technology has the potential to deliver slow-release therapeutics with enhanced mechanical performance compared to currently available microneedles on the market.

The programme aims to encourage the development of commercial outputs by engaging with researchers at an earlier stage in the commercialisation process.

“The aim of my research at UCD is focused on developing a platform technology which offers a smart way of delivering next-generation therapeutics through minimally invasive approaches,” said Cahill.

“During the programme I received valuable feedback for my business idea from a perspective beyond an academic viewpoint. I now aim to seek Enterprise Ireland commercialisation funding to help bring this technology to the next stage of development.”

This research has been supported by Science Foundation Ireland through a Technology Innovation Development Award, the Naughton Foundation and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship.

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