Technology firm poised for growth with capital investment

Causeway Sensors CEO Dr Bob Pollard, second left, with,  from left, Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital, William McCulla, director with Invest NI and Odhran McNeilly, business advisor at Bank of Ireland UK
Causeway Sensors CEO Dr Bob Pollard, second left, with, from left, Jayne Brady, partner at Kernel Capital, William McCulla, director with Invest NI and Odhran McNeilly, business advisor at Bank of Ireland UK

A high tech business developing nano-sensors used in areas such as medicine and food security is set for growth and job creation with a £500,000 venture capital investment.

Causeway Sensors, founded as a spinout from Queen’s University, has developed novel nanostructured chips for sensing applications accompanied with a reading device for detection and measurement.

Founded by Queen’s academics Dr Robert Pollard, Prof Robert Bowman and Dr John Nelson, the firm is focused on the global biosensor industry which is expected to reach over $22 billion in the next three years.

Their pioneering technology has emerged from more than 10 years of research, partly supported by Invest NI via an 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.

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

“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,” said Dr Pollard.

“Together with continued support from both Kernel and QUBIS, the company is focused on delivering on our innovation roadmap.”

Jayne Brady, a partner in Kernel Capital said it was satisfying to see another QUB spinout 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.”

William McCulla, director for corporate finance at Invest NI said: “Our 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.”

Odhran McNeilly, business advisor, Bank of Ireland UK said: “Causeway Sensors is a great example of Northern Ireland business creating value through pioneering technology. We look forward to working with the team to support their growth plans.”

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