UL Top Inventors Receive Innovation Award February 2012

The achievements of leading spin-out companies; Votechnik and Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd together with UL’s partnership with medical devices company, Aerogen were recently recognised at the UL Innovation Awards. The event was attended by researchers, entrepreneurs, industry representatives and innovators in the region.

UL’s Vice President Research, Dr Mary Shire said; “These awards highlight the impact UL research can, and is making on economic growth. The partnership between UL and Aerogen is a perfect example of academic expertise and industrial skill combining to make significant step-changes for the medical devices industry. The success stories of spin-out companies like Votechnik and Poly-Pico are testament to the real impact translational research has for the Irish economy.”

The Irish Granted Patent was formally presented to the invention team behind the core technology used by UL spin-out Votechnik. Votechnik supplies a specialised recycling technology for LCD displays which removes the hazardous materials from waste displays in a fast, efficient and automated process. The technology is currently unchallenged in the market and provides a unique solution for the problem of LCD recycling for European and worldwide markets. Votechnik received support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Poly-Pico and Votechnik were formally recognised as 2011 UL Spin-Out companies. Poly-Pico is commercialising technology that generates micro, nano and pico litre volumes of biomaterial. It allows users to reliably dispense fluids down to 100 pico litre resolution (10 -12). To put this into context, it would allow a standard pint of fluid to be dispensed in nearly 500 billion individual equal sized amounts. Poly-pico Technologies Ltd received support from Enterprise Ireland.

And the overall, 2011 Innovation Award was presented to the Aerogen Innovation Partnership project team. UL research in conjunction with researchers at Galway-based company, Aerogen have developed a significant technological enhancement to aspects of the vibrating core technology for use in Aerogen’s acute care aerosol drug delivery nebulisers. This innovative technology is used in the core of Aerogen’s products which enables high performance aerosol drug to be delivered into the lungs of critically ill patients in Intensive Care.

Developed by UL researchers, Dr Mark Southern, Professor Michael Pomeroy, MSSI,  Daniela Butan and Dr Seamus Clifford, in conjunction with Aerogen the unique technology has enabled Aerogen to scale the production of its core technology, ensuring a predictable and reliable production process.

By working in conjunction with Dr Southern and the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), Aerogen successfully validated a scalable production process which enabled them to increase their manufacturing from 100,000 units to 3,000,000 units per year, thus opening up opportunities for the company to move beyond manufacturing and into the more lucrative market of drug delivery device combination products.

Aerogen’s unique and innovative technology which has cost €40 million to develop over a period of 10 years and is protected by 30 patents is recognised as the ‘gold standard’ in acute care nebulisation in 65 countries worldwide. This research was part-funded through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership scheme.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Paul Dillon, Director, Technology Transfer Officer, UL said; “UL has continued to out-perform international benchmarks for delivery of inventions per euro investment. Our focus on commercialisation has yielded 6 promising spin-off companies in recent years involving a combined investment in excess of €60m and providing high-value jobs. It is vital that we generate and protect invention and industrially relevant research findings which will drive future growth.”

For further information about Technology Transfer and Research at UL go to www.ul.ie/research