February 2017 - €2.1 Million Investment

OncoMark Secures €2.1 Million Investment to Commercialise New Diagnostic Test for Breast Cancer

OncoMasTR test to launch in 2018 and will reduce the number of patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy

Pictured (l-r) at NovaUCD are; Dawn Walsh, Kernel Capital; Des O'Leary, CEO, OncoMark; Professor William Gallagher, Director, UCD Conway Institute and co-founder, OncoMark; Deirdre Glenn, Manager, Lifesciences Sector, Enterprise Ireland and Kevin Healy, Senior Manager, Corporate Banking Ireland, Bank of Ireland.

Dublin, Ireland, 15 February 2017, OncoMark (www.oncomark.com), a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company, today announced that it has secured €2.1 million in funding.

The funding round included; Kernel Capital, through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds, the Irrus Investments syndicate, the Galway HBAN MedTech syndicate, private investors and Enterprise Ireland.

OncoMark is focused on the development of novel panels of cancer biomarkers, to aid treatment decisions and allow more tailored patient management, ultimately improving the quality of life for cancer patients.

This investment round will fund the commercialisation of OncoMark's lead product, OncoMasTR, which it plans to launch in 2018. OncoMasTR is a novel prognostic test for early-stage breast cancer that will reduce the number of breast cancer patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy.

OncoMark was previously awarded €2.7 million, through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2, to clinically validate the OncoMasTR test. This new funding round will allow the translation of the test from clinical validation to regulatory approval and full commercialisation.

OncoMark, which was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney as a spin-out from UCD's School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

Des O'Leary, Chief Executive Officer, OncoMark said, "In the absence of accurate tests, the majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy despite many not benefiting from the treatment. This exposes individuals to severe side effects and results in significant costs to healthcare systems worldwide. Approximately 70% of patients do not require chemotherapy after initial surgery, but it has been difficult to identify these individuals. The OncoMasTR test is designed to enable a more personalised approach to patient care, helping clinicians to determine which patients should not receive chemotherapy, ultimately improving their quality of life." 

He added, "We are delighted to announce the successful achievement of our fundraising targets which will, in addition to the Horizon 2020 funding, allow us to complete the commercialisation of the OncoMasTR test, with product launch scheduled for mid-2018."

He concluded, "OncoMark currently has 14 employees, a significant increase prior to the OncoMasTR project, and I expect our staff numbers to increase further in the years ahead."

Orla Rimmington, Partner, Kernel Capital, said, "OncoMark aims to prevent early stage breast cancer patients' exposure to ineffective treatment and needless toxicity. Kernel Capital are delighted to have led this investment in OncoMark, with its genomic assessment test, based on pioneering research led by Professor William Gallagher."

Dr Tom Kelly, Head of Division, Industrial, Lifesciences and Consumer, Enterprise Ireland said, "The thriving Irish medtech sector continues its story of success and the development of innovative products such as OncoMasTR contributes significantly to Ireland's reputation as a leading global cluster for medical technologies. Companies like OncoMark are the future of the Irish economy. They have used Ireland's extensive innovation ecosystem and worked with the Enterprise Ireland commercialisation team to bring the fruits of academic enquiry to market and profitably. We will continue to support companies like OncoMark in delivering medical solutions that impact positively on the lives of cancer patients worldwide."

The OncoMasTR test is based on a panel of genetic 'drivers' of breast cancer. The original research that resulted in the identification of the panel was led by Professor Adrian Bracken, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin and researchers at the UCD Conway Institute, led by Professor William Gallagher. The OncoMasTR technology was subsequently exclusively licenced by both universities to OncoMark.

Donal Duffy, Director Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking said, "Bank of Ireland is delighted to support the ambitious and important work of OncoMark with the commercialisation of this new diagnostic breakthrough for breast cancer. At Bank of Ireland we have worked closely with the team involved to provide the best possible banking solution for their requirements and we are delighted to play a part in their success. Support for the start-up community is a key priority for Bank of Ireland and we look forward to working with the team over the coming years."

15 February 2017


For more information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), e: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie, t: + 353 1 716 3712 or Dawn Walsh, Kernel Capital, e: dawn.walsh@kernel-capital.com, t: +353 (0)21 492 8974, or Des O'Leary, CEO, OncoMark, e: des.oleary@oncomark.com, t: +353 1 716 3668.

Editor's Notes

OncoMark is a diagnostics company focused on the development of novel panels of cancer biomarkers, to aid treatment decisions and allow more tailored patient management, ultimately improving the quality of life for cancer patients. www.oncomark.com 


Kernel Capital is an independent manager of the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds, comprising of €210 million/£165 million of funds raised through six separate venture capital funds in the years 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2015. These Funds are supported by Bank of Ireland, Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland, University of Limerick Foundation, NUI Galway Foundation and New York State Common Retirement Fund. Kernel Capital is a MiFID regulated firm. www.kernel-capital.com

The Irrus Investments syndicate is focused on entrepreneurial companies, mainly but not exclusively Irish, with differentiated intellectual property. Irrus Investments consists of business angels looking for an opportunity to invest in and mentor such companies. www.irrusinvestments.com

The Galway HBAN MedTech syndicate is comprised of seasoned MedTech entrepreneurs who help provide not only the funds but also the medical knowledge and commercial skill set to help catalyse and support medical innovation in the medical device sphere. www.hban.org

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies as part of UCD's mission. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies such as OncoMark. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. www.ucd.ie/novaucd