Early cancer detection technology wins Student Entrepreneur Award

7th June, 2019

Student Entrepreneur Awards
Pictured L-R: NUIG student Christopher McBrearty with Richard Murphy, Manager for Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland

An early prostate cancer detection technology developed by a student from National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) student has won Enterprise Ireland’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

NanoDetect, which was developed by NUIG student Christopher McBrearty, can provide an advanced PSA screening technology to GPs and hospitals that will improve detection rates of prostate cancer. McBearty was one of 10 Finalists at the awards, which took place today at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and received €10,000 as part of the Enterprise Ireland student prize. He will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of the concept.

McBrearty, originally from Killybegs in Donegal, said; “Our core goal is to reduce patient waiting time with quick test results and to help educate and raise awareness around prostate cancer. Our future goal is to be the breast check equivalent for men and to eventually bring our technology into other routine screen procedures for disease types.”

This is the 38th year of Enterprise Ireland’s Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Grant Thornton and the Local Enterprise Offices and are open to all third level colleges across the country. NanoDetect shared in a €35,000 prize fund, with three other finalists receiving awards today.

The Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attourneys’ High Achieving Merit Award went to CIT’s John Colbert, David O’Connor, Elise Kenneally and Michael Goggin for StomAssure. The four students received a prize of €5,000 for their implantable alternative to the current stoma treatment method.

The Grant Thornton Emerging Business Award went to Ulster University’s Jenny Gregg for her Crafted Equestrian business. Crafted Equestrian creates products for the equestrian market that positively impact the lives of horses and their owners. Her first product, a patented pressure relieving girth that prevents girth galls, received the €5,000 prize.

The final Local Enterprise Office ICT award and €5,000 went to TU Dublin’s Micron Agritech Limited created by students Daniel Izquierdo Hijazi, Sean Smith, Tara McElligott and Jose Lopez Escobar. Their Tastail Kit allows farmers to instantly test their animals on-site for parasites, receiving an instant text with results, as opposed to the current 3-5 day waiting time. This will significantly cut down on antimicrobial drug usage by farmers.

Richard Murphy, Manager for Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said: “The Student Entrepreneur Awards have been a breeding ground of entrepreneurship now for 38 years. Students are no longer just in the mindset of going to third level education to help get themselves a job, many are going to third level education to shape their jobs and to create the businesses they want to work in. The Student Entrepreneur Awards helps to foster that entrepreneurship and with over 1,000 entries for this year’s awards we may be looking at some of Ireland’s future international business leaders and entrepreneurs today.”

The final presentation of the day, the Enterprise Ireland Academic Award was given to Colm O’Kane who was mentor to the TU Dublin participants, in recognition of his involvement with the Student Entrepreneur Awards.

Along with the prize money the winners will also share in a €30,000 consultancy fund that will enable them to turn their ideas into a commercial reality. Enterprise Ireland Merit awards were given to the remaining six finalists along with €1,500 per team. More information on the Student Entrepreneur Awards can be found on www.studententrepreneurawards.com


Winners - Enterprise Ireland's Student Entrepreneur Awards 2019

  • Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award – NanoDetect (NUIG)
  • Cruickshanks Intellectual Property Attourneys’ High Achieving Merit Award – StomAssure (CIT)
  • Grant Thornton Emerging Business Award – Crafted Equestrian (Ulster University)
  • Local Enterprise Office ICT – Micron Agritech (TU Dublin)
  • Enterprise Ireland Academic Award – Colm O’Kane (TU Dublin)


Enterprise Ireland's Student Entrepreneur Awards - Finalist Profiles

BabyAlertTM - Evan Stone, Lisa Lynch, Tuoyo Ede – CIT
"We are BabyAlertTM, and with our product we will improve safety for both mother and child. Our product, named after our company, BabyAlertTM is an early labour detection device to be used in the third trimester of pregnancy for women with cervical insufficiency. Cervical insufficiency refers to inability to hold a pregnancy till term, due to a rupture of the foetal membrane. This is common in woman who have suffered from cervical cancer or for other reasons had a cerclage, a stitch in the uterus. These women are placed on long term bed rest in the third trimester of their pregnancy. With BabyAlertTM, we envisage that these women will no longer be placed on bed rest as our product will enable them to continue with their daily lives, by providing an early labour indicator which will notify the user that they need to admit themselves to hospital ahead of time. This is a drastic improvement over the current method, and this differentiating factor stems from the personal motivation that founded BabyAlertTM"

Crafted Equestrian – Jenny Gregg - Ulster University
Crafted Equestrian is a company born out of passion and love for the welfare of horses. Our goal is to create products and solutions within the equestrian market that will positively impact the lives of horses and their owners. Crafted Equestrian’s first product is a girth. A girth is the piece of equipment that holds the horse’s saddle in place. Our patented pressure relieving girth was created when our founder Jenny Gregg designed a solution for her own pony to prevent a common injury called girth galls. Girth galls are injuries caused by friction and sweating around the girth area and behind the horse’s front legs, this results in incredibly painful and uncomfortable injuries. Our pressure relieving girth can:
• Prevent girth galls occurring
• Avoid rider disappointment due to missed competitions
• Avoid costly vet bills that can average £100 per treatment
• Potentially improve horse performance
• Improve horse welfare and comfort

Cula Sleep Systems – Killian Flemming – UL
We sleep for one third of our lives, but only now are we waking up to the importance of our sleep. Imagine having the ability to go to bed every night and awake feeling fully rested. Cula (pronounced as Cull-a) is a wearable sleep system that facilitates the tracking and optimisation of an individual’s sleep. Designed and developed with input from users and medical professionals, the system boasts a trifecta of benefits: Accurate sleep tracking;  Unconscious optimisation; Sleep diary. Cula allows for the accurate tracking of an individual’s sleep. This is done through the tracking of specific health variables, heart rate, brain activity and movement. This use of 3 variables allows Cula to get a thorough overview of our sleep, providing the opportunity for individuals to sleep and wake at their optimal time. Cula utilises sound to increase the quantity of regenerative, deep sleep you get throughout the night while eradicating all external stimuli. Truly allowing you to escape the world around you. Cula keeps a diary of your sleep for you on your accompanying device as well as informing you about your sleep. Let Cula guide you with pre and post sleep recommendations to both educate and enable you to improve your sleep. The system utilises machine learning to ensure your best night’s sleep, becoming more personalised and effective with every use. Having identified a clear target market, Cula has the potential to scale effectively and have a genuine positive impact on user’s lives. Enhancing an individual’s potential to perform was the goal of this project and Cula has achieved this.

3DSciSolutions - Klaudia Juda, Paola Cioppi, Katie O'Connor, Erika Vasiliauskaite - UCC
The Company: 3DSciSolutions aims to use human cells to grow fully functional lungs for researchers all around the world. The Team: We are a diverse, multilingual team of Molecular Biology Masters students with a passion for ethical research. The Motivation: Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from lung-related diseases and with that we decided that our first organ product should be lungs. People affected by lung diseases suffer for the rest of their lives and their quality of life is substantially lower than that of a healthy person. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that new therapies are developed in an ethical, efficient and effective manner. The Background: Historically animals such as mice, rats, guinea pigs etc. have been used in lung disease research to examine the effectiveness of a drug or to understand the pathological progression of a disease. At 3DSciSolutions, we believe that this is unacceptable, and we strive to provide an alternative approach to research that is safe, ethical, fast, effective and does not result in the unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. 3DSciSolutions offers innovative products, ‘never seen before’, in comparison with the current available market. The Objectives: Going forward, we will continue to advance our current knowledge of lung diseases, but also aim to grow a multitude of organs. We plan to diversify into growing human organs for transplantation using the recipients own stem cells. As the organs are made using recipient stem cells the organ will be a ‘perfect’ match and will not be recognised by the body as a foreign object, this will reduce the risk of organ rejection as well as limit the use of immunosuppressant drugs which can have serious consequences such as increased risk of infection. Our Vision: We believe that 3DSciSolutions and our products will be the catalyst for revolutionising the world of science and medicine in the future.

EZ Reader – Christopher Barrett, Killian Flemming, Conor Biggins, Mark O’Sullivan - UL
The EZ Reader is a personal, portable and lightweight handheld device allowing the user the freedom to interact comfortably with multiple devices. The universal clips allows for seamless transition of the EZ Reader from one product to another and gives the user control across a range of smart products. As a group we researched, designed and explored the potential of a portable personal stabilizer aimed towards those affected by ailments such as Parkinson’s or MS (Multiple Sclerosis) who suffer shakes or tremors to the hands. We aim to create something that can assist our target audience in their day to day interactions and tasks. Our product should allow its users to interact with objects around them with the confidence and ease of those with full dexterity.

Hazardless Medical™ - Simon Dring, Dara Lynch, Phillip Chan, Conor Kerin, Daniel Keating, John Reynolds - CIT
We, at Hazardless Medical™, believe that the future generations of humanity deserve the best chance to live the fullest possible life they can. This requires us to eliminate current problems that pose a threat before they start to show their consequences. One such problem is the waste of antibiotics and the subsequent problems that develop as a result. ‘Superbugs’ threaten, in a worst-case scenario, to render current, commonly used antibiotics useless. This would prevent us from being able to cure common infections, essentially returning us to early 1900s with regards to medical advances as procedures such as heart transplants would become impossible. It is this reason that inspired us to create an innovative and effective method to reduce the waste of antibiotics worldwide. We saw an opening to create a method which would control the waste of injectable antibiotics in the agricultural sector. Currently, the method of closure on bottles of animal antibiotics only allows a very limited window of use once the product is opened. We have created a new and ground-breaking method of allowing the drugs to be used for their full shelf life, even once they have been opened. This will massively reduce the waste of antibiotics and is the first step on the road to ensuring a healthy future for generations to come.

LayoTech Solutions - Laurence O'Sullivan, Oisin McAvinchey, Yatharth Kaushik, Arno Fricke – UCC
LayoTech Solutions is a technology company with a mission statement of revolutionising infection control management on an international level. Currently 700,000 people die every year at the hands of anti-microbial resistant bacteria, with projected death rates expected to rise to over 10 million people per year by 2050. Current hand hygiene procedures are outdated and the requirement for modernisation is paramount. Our solution is a hand sanitation unit applying Far-UVC technology, capable of eradicating such bacterium in a matter of seconds. Our built-in management software platform fulfils the requirement for better data collection and introduces modern, efficient implementation procedures. Together our product and service will save lives, save time and reduce costs, while providing peace of mind for our customers, end-users and the wider public.

Micron Agritech Ltd - Daniel Izquierdo Hijazi, Sean Smith, Tara McElligott, Jose Lopez Escobar – TU Dublin
4 in 5 antimicrobial drugs sold are used in the agriculture Industry. By 2050, 10 million people will die every year from common infections due to antimicrobial resistance, caused as a result of the overuse of medication. So why is the agriculture industry overusing it? With parasite test results for cows taking a minimum of 3-5 working days for a lab to analyse, farmers decide to constantly dose their animals instead of testing, wasting money on unnecessary medication, because time is their most valuable asset. Introducing Tástáil Kit by Micron Agritech. Our revolutionary parasite testing kit allows farmers to test their animals instantly and on site. The testing process only takes a few minutes and farmers will receive a text with the results instantly.

NanoDetect – Christopher Mc Brearty - NUIG
NanoDetect can provide an advanced PSA screening technology to GPs and hospitals which will improve detection rates of prostate cancer. Our core goal is to reduce patient wait-time with quick test-results, and to educate and raise awareness about prostate cancer. Our future goal is to be the breast check equivalent for men, and to eventually bring our technology into other routine screening procedures for other types of disease.

StomAssure™ – John Colbert, David O’Connor, Elise Kenneally and Michael Goggin – CIT
Our product is an implantable alternative to the current stoma treatment method. With a StomAssure device the need for glues and powders to attach a stoma bag is completely removed and the user also gains the ability to close their stoma with a liquid tight seal at their convenience. We believe with our device we can revolutionise the stoma treatment system and provide a significantly higher quality of life to all ostomates in the world.



For further information, please contact:

Declan Lee

Enterprise Ireland

Declan Lee

087 695 7451