Thurles Biotech Company – Making Waves at All Ireland Competition

hkpbHKPB Scientific is a new biotechnology company, headquartered in the Technology Park in Thurles, Co. Tipperary has come away with a prize as the best Start up company in Munster at a recent awards ceremony.

The company was founded in 2008 by two local scientists, Dr. Brendan Kennedy and Dr. Donncha Haverty, and has developed rapidly into one of the most promising start-up companies on the Ireland.

In the All Ireland Seedcorn Business competition, a panel comprising representatives of the Irish venture capital community and cross-border state agencies analysed the business plan of the company and judged it to be the best start-up in Munster.

The company has already accessed € 300,000 in equity and state funding just one year after incorporation.

Having a strong research relationship with the University of Limerick, the company has developed four technologies and progressed two patents in the high-technology, biomedical space to an advanced stage of international protection. In addition the company is successfully implementing its business strategy to enter global markets totalling $ 20 billion annually and already has a permanent presence in the United States of America.

When asked to comment on the challenges facing scientists in the commercial space Dr. Kennedy said:

“It has been our experience that the skill-set of a scientific research Ph. D. are readily transferable to the start-up business environment. The core analytical abilities central to science are the same as those needed to assess a market and devise a viable business strategy. We would advise other scientists to consider the commercial potential of their research and we would have no hesitation in sharing the benefit of our experience to date in this regard.”

North Tipperary TD Michael Lowry speaking to Thurles.Info, praised the achievements of the fledgling company and hailed its success as a model for other local companies to emulate.

I am delighted that a local company in the mid west has made such an impact at this early stage. We all continually hear that the development of the ‘knowledge economy’ is the key to our economic recovery and development and I hope that we see further local companies linking up with the region’s educational institutions to deliver a much needed jobs and a boost to our economy

The company has had the support of Shannon Development from the outset and in particular the Tipperary Technology Park. The company is also supported by Enterprise Ireland.

Dr. Kennedy said:

We are delighted with the support we have received in Thurles. Dr. Vincent Cunnane, CEO of Shannon Development and Brian Keating, director of the Tipperary Technology Park have been of enormous help in getting our company off the ground. The facilities available to HKPB Scientific, a company that is part of the knowledge economy, are excellent, particularly in terms of telecommunications. Enterprise Ireland have committed significant resources to the company to get it through its initial stages of development not just in terms of finance but also in relation to the ancillary supports they provide to facilitate start-up companies accessing markets at home and overseas” .

The core promoters of HKPB Scientific are Ph. D. graduates of the University of Limerick and two full-time academics from the Materials and Surface Science Institute at the University of Limerick, Prof. Tony Pembroke and Dr. Seamus McMonagle, sit on the company’s science advisory board.

Prof. Tony Pembroke said:

The MSSI is committed to playing its’ role in supporting entrepreneurial researchers, such as Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Haverty, who are willing to take their innovations beyond the university environment into the commercial space.

Dr. McMonagle added:

“The MSSI is a world class research institute and is well equipped to provide the research facilities that HKPB Scientific requires.”


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