Impact & Opinions | Tionchar & Tuairimí

Propelling Innovation: University of Galway Spinouts
Fiona Neary
Innovation Start up Manager, Innovation Office, University of Galway
Made in Galway: Resilient Innovation

Propelling Innovation: University of Galway Spinouts

28 June 23
 | 20 MINS

Today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business landscape requires constant innovation. Founded in 2006, University of Galway’s Innovation Office is a hub for entrepreneurs, startups and established companies alike to propel their ventures to new heights in a supported environment.

“To date, the Business Innovation Centre in the Innovation Office has supported 128 companies which have gone on to create 2,375 jobs and raise €715m in funding. […] in the last three years, 75% have already achieved HPSU status.”

Our team in the Innovation Office take innovative ideas and turn them into real life opportunities and impact, supporting the region’s start-ups through engagement, collaboration, knowledge transfer, research funding and commercialisation.  

This is what makes us stand out from the rest. We are there at inception of an idea being born and carry it through what can be a very long research and commercial journey. We provide dedicated resources and expertise at every step of the way, developing impact pathways from research outputs with infrastructure to scale and grow this fledgling idea into something great. 

We are the interface to ensure our spinouts get the support needed to become highly investable. 13/13 of our spinouts are funded and over the last three years, 75% have already achieved HPSU status. 

Creating impact in the region 2020-2023

Licences to Industry




Industry collaborations


New HPSU’s


New Inventions


New Patents


EI Comm Funds approved


Acquired Spin Out value



Creating impact in The Region 

To date, the Business Innovation Centre has supported 128 companies which have gone on to create 2,375 jobs and raise €715m in funding. These spinouts are highly investable; in the last three years, 75% have already achieved HPSU status. In this same period, the University has also gained 27 patents, licensed 42 technologies, and launched 110 projects with industry. The dynamic teams behind these companies are ambitious and collaborative, creating ripples of societal impact and often continuing to partner with the University.  

“The creation of companies and engagement with key partners whose purpose is to turn research into societal impact is one of the core activities of the Innovation Office at University of Galway,” says David Murphy, Director of Knowledge Transfer and Innovation at University of Galway and head of the Innovation Office.  

In practice, this involves securing initiatives to address regional needs, such as the recently funded project with WDC to develop a collaborative Regional Specialised Life Science Hub (funded through the Regional Enterprise Innovation Scoping Scheme 2022, Enterprise Ireland). The Centre also prioritises engagement with industry; University of Galway recently introduced Ireland’s first AIMday (Academic-Industry Meeting Day) in 2022, and regularly takes part in showcases and competitions such as InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn competition.  


“At any given time we are prepping and showcasing about 15 opportunities to investors and looking to help these budding entrepreneurs progress…”

Fiona Neary

Innovation Startup Manager, Fiona Neary says, “At any given time we are prepping and showcasing about 15 opportunities to investors and looking to help these budding entrepreneurs progress. I have such respect for the work spinouts do – the commitment and dedication in a challenging environment where they are all competing for resources, specific talent, grants, investment and to be the next global success. We strongly support their investor readiness, as we are in a highly competitive market.”

The following initiatives in particular will become a strong focus for the Innovation Office hub in the coming years: Knowledge Transfer Boost programme with Enterprise Ireland looking at a smarter Europe by promoting innovative and smart economic transformation, the Innovators Initiative pioneering Smart Futures based on needs-led innovation and the €4 million Atlantic Futures innovation programme launched under the Government’s North-South Research Programme. Add to that, Construct Innovate, Ireland’s national research centre for construction technology and innovation – for which the University hosts the €5 million industry-led Technology Centres programme.

Propelling Innovation: University of Galway Spinouts
Amara Therapeutics L-R Prof Geoff Cundiff, Dr Emma Carr, Brendan Staunton, Katie Dunne.

Recent Spinout Successes 

2023 has proved an prosperous year for University of Galway spinouts so far. In November of this year, Amara Theraputics, Xtremedy, Luminate and Feeltect were each awarded the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF), a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 (1).  

University has invested €5m to support marine and energy challenges and University spinouts are also honing their sustainability focus, in alignment with this core value. Pristine Coasts Ltd in particular is promoting the growth and protection of seaweed biomass  – a key environmental resource in the West of Ireland.

Amara Therapeutics 

 One in four women suffer from pelvic and bladder health conditions. Amara Therapeutics is a digital therapeutics company determined to change the way pelvic healthcare is delivered globally. This dynamic team is committed to empowering patients to take control of their pelvic health through a Digital Therapeutic Platform that informs patients of evidence-based medicine and behavioural interventions. 

Amara Therapeutics’ artificial intelligence-based digital platform allows for more effective use of patient data and works to connects healthcare providers, payers, patients and peers in an instant. The DTIF will elevate the spinouts to the next level, allowing them to facilitate quick, accessible and personalised therapies to a larger patient base. 

One patient, Teresa says of the app, “This app has made me feel that I am not alone with my problem. OAB is my secret – No one in my family, except my husband, knows I suffer from this. I actually feel that there is someone there who totally understands what I am going through.”

Propelling Innovation: University of Galway Spinouts
Luminate Medical Founders.  Andrew Downes, Xposure

Luminate Medical Founders.  Andrew Downes, Xposure


While most of us have heard of cancer research, there is less awareness around the management of cancer symptoms and the everyday needs of patients undergoing chemotherapy. Research shows, for example, that 68% of all chemotherapy patients develop some form of peripheral nerve damage as a result of their treatment.  

With cancer rates in the US and EU predicted to rise by 49% and 21% by 2040 respectively, the challenges of cancer treatment will become an increasingly pressing issue for the healthcare sector. Luminate are developing a range of innovative products to control and prevent side effects in cancer treatment. The spinout is currently beginning pre-clinical trials to prevent hair loss and peripheral neuropathy. Luminate’s mission, put simply, is to empower 10 million people to take control of their cancer treatment. 


Getting their start through the University’s esteemed BioInnovate Ireland programme, Feeltect launched in 2019. The Galway-based spinout’s mission is to disrupt the field of wound care, developing connected-health solutions towards safety, efficacy and empowerment. 

Venous leg ulcers affect 11.5 million people globally each year. Compression therapy, the golden standard treatment for these chronic wounds, faces a vast number of challenges in meeting the individual factors of each patient’s healing process. Feeltect’s vision is to see every wound care patient receiving individualised, optimized treatment, specific to their clinical and user needs. 

The spinout’s pioneering technology, ‘Tightalright’ is the first of its kind, a pressure-sensing wearable device that has the potential to maximise the rate of healing with minimal disruption to quality of life, all the while alleviating healthcare systems of the burden of wound care challenges. Additionally, a digital platform monitors technologies to capture detailed data on wound healing, informing improvements in the future.

Feeltect’s innovative technology has been noted in publications including Silicon Republic, The Irish Times and Business Post (the latter of which named them one of the 100 Hot Startups of 2021)

Propelling Innovation: University of Galway Spinouts
Camille O’Malley, Co-Founder of Extremedy Medical.


 Galway-based spinout Xtremedy Medical is currently raising seed funding to start clinical trials for its novel medical device that aims to treat diabetic foot infections. Lyn Markey and Camille O’Malley first met at the BioInnovate Ireland fellowship programme in 2018 as part of the orthopaedics team, before going on to found the spinout in 2020. During this time, the duo witnessed traumatic experiences among patients undergoing months of ineffective therapy to control post-surgical infections.  

Finishing the programme, Markey and O’Malley funnelled these concerns and learnings into Xtremedy Medical – a MedTech spinout aimed at developing a medical device and platform technology to treat infection wounds using the pulsed field ablation (PFA) method. They key to this technology’s effectiveness is the dual ability to reduce the bacterial burden (stimulating healing) and improve antibiotic uptake. A winner of Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2021 showcase, Xtremedy now estimates a market opportunity of up to €5bn and regulatory approval by 2028. These successes will contribute to the support of thousands of patients across the US and Europe and the prevention of avoidable post-surgical disabilities. 

Pristine Coasts 

One University of Galway spinout is harnessing the potential of one of the region’s most culturally and environmentally valuable natural phenomena: seaweed. The research-led Pristine Coasts specialises in plant and seaweed biology, genetics and ecology.  

Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), this team of dedicated scientists retrieves genetic information of various different seaweed species contained within bulks of biomass or seaweed products. This allows the spinout to provide innovative solutions for the seaweed industry – be that the producer or retailer – to ensure appropriate identification, labelling, traceability and purity of products.  

About The Innovation Office 

The Innovation Office is a key facility in the University of Galway that accelerates the impact of our research and innovation by engaging with researchers, enterprises, government and society.  

Moving forward, the Office plans to initiate commercial cases for emerging opportunities identified for the region – in industries such as agrifood, renewable energy and the creative sector. To do so, the team will provide enhanced engagement opportunities with national stakeholders in the field such as Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Business Partners, Investors and other HEIs.  

The Office will continue to roll out popular Academic Industry Meeting Days (AIMdays). AIMday was pioneered by Uppsala University in Sweden as a way of engaging academia and industry to solve societal problems. The latest of these have succeeded in fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange beyond the campus walls, and the next two will focus on key themes of “Innovation in Construction” and “Digital Health”.  

Click here to learn more about The Innovation Office and stay connected with us on Twitter at @Galway_Innovate

  1. Run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. 


Fiona Neary
Innovation Start up Manager, Innovation Office, University of Galway

Fiona is an University of Galway graduate with 30 years’ experience in business and academic environments. Previous positions include corporates Medtronic and Avia before moving to University of Galway 18 years ago supporting industry and academia in engagement and start up activity. Extensive experience in the acceleration of new business ideas from early-stage research to market ready opportunities as a coach and mentor to the entrepreneurial community. Design and deliver impact accelerators advancing innovation, validating the business opportunity, applying for grants to support innovations and getting the right investment to progress. Facilitate company formation emerging from the university with business plans, fund-raising, identification of management teams and strategic business models to help scale and grow the startup community on campus.


0 / 5. Vote count: 0

Discover More

Keep up to date on the latest from us straight to your inbox

Privacy policy