UCC and Tyndall's Sarusha Pillay (pHetalSafe) and Dr Justina Ugwah (CLISTEProbe) have received more than €2m in Enterprise Ireland funding to translate their research into innovative companies that will benefit patients globally. The investment from Enterprise Ireland will support technology development and accelerate the launch of the two companies.

The announcement comes as new data reports women-led startups are experiencing record levels of funding, more than double the amount raised in 2020.

Sarusha Pillay – pHetalSafe

€1.35m was awarded to the pHetalSafe team, a collaboration between the Tyndall National Institute and INFANT Research Centre in University College Cork, together with the Cork University Maternity Hospital.

pHetalSafe is designed to improve fetal monitoring during labour for safer childbirth. It aims to reduce or remove the need for unnecessary Caesarean sections by providing better information on the signs of fetal distress.

Sarusha Pillay will assume the company CEO role while co-founders, Dr Fergus McCarthy and Ray Burke will take up the clinical lead and technical lead roles. Dr Shree Krishnamoorthy, post-doctoral researcher at Tyndall National Institute, is developing the technology behind pHetalSafe, providing the necessary resources to drive the project forward.

Dr Justina Ugwah – CLISTEProbe

CLISTEProbe provides real-time diagnostic data to clinicians to make informed decisions during biopsy sampling by identifying benign and cancerous tissue. By providing an early tissue assessment at time of biopsy, it will ensure women receive immediate diagnostic feedback.

In 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths globally. CLISTEProbe was awarded €753,000 by Enterprise Ireland to continue its technical and commercial development.

Joining Dr Eric Moore and Dr Yineng Wang at the Tyndall National Institute, Dr Justina Ugwah, commercial lead, is establishing a spin-out company to commercialise this technology which has the potential to play a major role in the improvement of women’s health.

Click here to see the full list of UCC's trailblazing start-ups who secured €3.27m in Enterprise Ireland funding.