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Seedcorn Regional Winners NI
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Northern Ireland Seedcorn regional winners announced

16 Nov 2020

GenoME Diagnostics and SonoTarg Ltd are both €20,000 richer following their regional win at InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Competition

Belfast based GenoME Diagnostics and SonoTarg Ltd have been have been crowned ‘Best New Start’ company and ‘Best Early Stage’ company respectively at the Belfast regional final of the 2020 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.

Both companies fought off tough competition having delivered an investment pitch via video conference in front of an expert judging panel.

Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for innovative new start and early stage businesses in any sector. The winners from each of the four regions will go onto compete in the all-island final later in the month where the overall ‘Best New Start’ and ‘Best Early Stage’ companies will be announced winning €50,000 each, and ultimately the ‘Overall Winner’ will pocket €100,000 to contribute to their business growth.

GenoME Diagnostics was established in 2020 as a spin out of the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research at Queen’s University, Belfast. Founded based on research conducted by Dr Paul Mullan, Dr James Beirne and Dr Laura Feeney, the company is developing a blood test for the earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Commenting on their win, Shannon Beattie, COO at GenoME Diagnostics said; “Winning ‘Best New Start company at the Northern Ireland final is a great success for us. We are aiming to supply our innovative ovarian cancer diagnostic globally and this prize money will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to increase our business visibility and networking opportunities at various international conferences and tradeshows.”

SonoTarg Ltd , an Ulster University spin out was established in 2018 has developed a new targeted ultrasound therapy for treatment of solid cancer tumours which claims to be more effective and less toxic than conventional chemotherapy.

Chief Scientific Officer, Professor John Callan said; “We are delighted to win ‘Best Early stage’ company at the Northern Ireland regional final and progress to the next stage of the competition, were we will compete for the overall Seedcorn title. Having demonstrated the effectiveness of SonoTarg in a range of pre-clinical tumour models, our next step is to test the technology in a first-in-human clinical trial. The advice obtained throughout the Seedcorn competition will be very beneficial when engaging with investors to raise the funding needed to complete this next phase of SonoTargs development.”

Since the competition’s inception in 2003, more than 3,100 companies have been through the programme and finalists have raised in excess of €256m in equity funding, emphasising Seedcorn’s position as the premier competition for high growth start-up companies on the island.

Congratulating both companies, Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Programme Manager at InterTradeIreland said: “It’s a great achievement to win the regional final, the standard of entries from Northern Ireland this year has been particularly high. Congratulations to GenoME Diagnostics and SonoTarg Ltd, both companies demonstrated vision, innovation and passion, all of which the judges look for when assessing the potential and longevity of a business. I wish them luck as they go on to compete against other jurisdictions in the competition’s overall final next month.”

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