NUI Galway Biomaterials Spin-Out Set to Double in Size within a Year

Friday, 2 November 2012

Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd and Professor Abhay Pandit of the NFB at NUI Galway
Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd and Professor Abhay Pandit of the NFB at NUI Galway

A start-up medical device company that has been spun out from an NUI Galway research laboratory has begun an expansion that should see it double in size by the end of the year.

Vornia Limited was established by Professor Abhay Pandit and Drs Dimitrios Zeugolis and Wenxin Wang as a spin out from the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) – an NUI Galway based research cluster.

Vornia’s goal is to bring superior and consistently high-quality biodegradable biomaterial products to the market. As a medical device company, Vornia also uses its own superior grade materials to develop and scale up products in niche clinical targets including tendon regeneration, soft tissue repair and spinal cord repair.   

Vornia’s Managing Director, Dr Colm O’Dowd, has initiated a robust R&D programme and has been ramping for the past eight months. “In a market in which between 70 and 80% of start-up companies fail, Vornia has secured funding for the next four years and we are looking forward to a bright future in biomaterials development for the medical technology markets.”

Established with private, EU FP7, and Enterprise Ireland funding, Vornia Ltd has recently secured grants in partnership with both private companies and the NFB-based at NUI Galway to work on semi-organic devices for the treatment ischemic heart conditions, spinal cord repair and for stent development amongst others.

It is involved, for example, in a €1.2 million EU project which aims to reduce the re-narrowing of arteries and the need for further interventions, through the development of novel cardiovascular stent materials.

Dr Colm O’Dowd added: “We have just come through an intense ramping-up phase, with six researchers from as far afield as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and as close to home as GMIT. By the end of the year, we hope to have recruited a further six scientists and biomedical engineers. We need people to work on process design and development of a diverse range of medical device products using biomaterials developed by NFB.”

The Vornia R&D laboratory has expanded to occupy a space in the BioInnovation Centre on the NUI Galway campus where it benefits from business support and training from the team there and is also supported by the Innovation in Business Centre based at GMIT supported by funding from Enterprise Ireland.

Vornia Ltd operates under an international standard for medical device manufacturers (ISO 13485) and will soon be recognised by the certification body for their quality management systems. They are also seeking recognition as a high potential start-up (HPSU) status from Enterprise Ireland which provides funding and support for start-up businesses with the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale in international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1 million in sales within 3-4 years of starting up.

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Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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