GenCell raises €2.7m in seed funding for expansion of overseas business

LIMERICK-BASED genetic research company GenCell Biosystems has raised €2.7 million ($3.5m) in seed funding for the expansion of its business overseas.



Founder Kieran Curran told the Irish Times yesterday that the funding had been secured from a group of private investors from overseas and Enterprise Ireland.

He said it would be used to “fund growth and job expansion” and to establish an office inWisconsinin the US where a development team would be based.

Mr Curran added that the company employed 26 staff and had plans to add up to 20 employees over the next two years.

GenCell has developed an advanced genetic analysis technology that addresses life science challenges. Its system uses “microfluidic processes and special light wavelengths to automatically analyse DNA profiles and to predict future growth outcomes in individual cells”.

The Irish company claims that its system brings the various stages of genetic analysis into a single process for the first time.

“We build machines that can analyse DNA quicker and more cheaply than other technologies,” Mr Curran said. “There is a thirst to reduce the costs of testing.”

Mr Curran, who has a mechanical engineering background, said GenCell had filed US patent applications and plans to enter full commercial production of its technologies by 2014.

It intends to locate its manufacturing facility at its base in Raheen inLimerickcity.

“We’ve invested in Limerick, we’ve commercialised the business in Limerick, and, hopefully, we’ll go into full-scale production inLimericktoo.”

Mr Curran declined to name the company’s clients, but said GenCell was now “cash flow positive” and that its turnover had “broken through” the €1 million barrier.

“That’s a nice place to be,” he added.

Lisa Vaughan, department manager of the Enterprise Ireland scaling team, said the agency would continue to “support” GenCell’s investment plans and help it “win new business contracts and create high-value jobs”.

Mr Curran founded GenCell early last year as a spin-off from Curran Scientific, a contract research and development company. He previously worked with Stokes Bio, aUniversityofLimerickspinout that was sold in 2010 to Life Technologies in theUSfor $44 million.