Invest NI supports development of unique healthcare technology

Invest Northern Ireland is supporting the development of innovative new technology that will be used in products that could revolutionise the connected healthcare industry.

The technology is being developed by NovaUCD firm BiancaMed at its new R&D centre in Belfast. Invest NI has offered £250,000 towards the set up of the research and development centre at the Queen’s University, Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT).

BiancaMed’s core product is a unique wireless sensor that can detect breathing and heart rate up to a distance of two metres. The first application for the technology is a baby monitor, but it will be developed further for use in other applications with life-saving potential, such as home health and exercise monitors. The technology will be launched at the 2007 Connected Health Symposium, a major US international life sciences event, organised by Partners Healthcare, Boston, from 22-23 October.

John Thompson Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, says; “This innovative technology has the potential to add significant momentum to the drive in modern healthcare towards effective care management for chronic diseases.  Through direct application to products as well as licensing it to other companies, BiancaMed has the potential to access a global market for its unique technology.”

As well as receiving assistance through Invest NI’s Compete programme which supports the commercialisation of research, BiancaMed has secured €2.5m venture capital support for the project, from Draper Fisher Jurvetson ePlanet Ventures and ResMed.

BiancaMed was founded in 2003 by Professor Conor Heneghan, Dr Philip de Chazal and Dr Conor Hanley as a spin-out from University College Dublin’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering.  Biancamed is headquartered at NovaUCD the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD.

Welcoming this development Dr Pat Frain, Director, NovaUCD, said: “I am confident that BiancaMed with its strong management team will justify this investment by further developing and exploiting its strong intellectual property and cutting-edge technology.”

He added, “I am delighted that BiancaMed has established an office in Queen’s University which is another example of the increasing level of collaboration between the two universities.”

Speaking on behalf of BiancaMed, CEO, Dr Conor Hanley said: “BiancaMed decided to locate its R&D centre in Belfast because of the cluster of world class companies in telecommunications and health technology there, and the availability of high calibre researchers and engineers. The opportunity to work closely with world-renowned research teams in ECIT to develop the technology, and the support from Invest NI were also important factors in attracting the company to Belfast.”