Three Enterprise Ireland Companies Secure €24m in Horizon Europe Funding

24th October 2022

Posted In: Be In The Frame

The European Commission has released evaluation results showing that three Enterprise Ireland-backed companies have been selected and approved for a total of €24.3m in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme.

Part of the EU’s Horizon Europe 2021-2027 Research and Innovation Programme, the EIC Accelerator Programme provides grant funding of up to €2.5 million combined with an equity investment ranging from €0.5 to €15 million in a blended finance offer.

The EIC is an integral part of the Innovative Europe pillar of Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation €95.5bn programme which provides funding to projects through open and competitive calls for proposals and presents insights and expectations from the European Commission whilst offering a unique international networking experience to forge winning partnerships of the future.

The three successful Irish companies are ATXA Therapeutics, Peregrine Technologies and Ostoform Limited. The successful Irish led projects cover areas including accelerating the clinical path of a disea modifying drug targeting cardiopulmonary disease; AI development and robotics targeting the WEEE recycling sector and the development of a novel appliance to improve the skin condition of ostomy bag users.

The EIC Accelerator Programme provides transformational funding to high-potential, high-risk start-ups, scale ups and SMEs led by a strong, well-balanced leadership team which are already making good progress in commercialising highly differentiated, deep-tech products capable of creating new markets or disrupting existing ones.

In this second round of the 2022 EIC programme, 75 companies from 21 European countries were selected by panels of experienced investors and entrepreneurs to receive over €396 million in funding. Over one thousand organisations applied, 265 of which were shortlisted for the interview phase.

Here we take a look at ATXA Therapeutics Limited, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin which is set to receive significant blended (€10.5M in grant and equity) financing. On hearing the news, ATXA’s Founder and CEO Prof. Therese Kinsella said: “We are honoured to accept this prestigious EIC award endorsing us as a disruptive, deep-tech, innovative technology within the wider EC community.

We believe it will be transformational in enabling us to fulfil our mission to bring accessible, affordable, and life-changing treatments for heart and lung diseases.”

As founder and CEO of ATXA Therapeutics, Therese and her team have developed and is clinically advancing a proprietary novel, first-in-class drugs that block (antagonize) the thromboxane receptor, a critical drug target implicated in many prevalent diseases but poorly served by good therapies today. As such, ATXA’s drugs have so-called platform potential to treat a wide range of diseases.

Through the company’s research & development work, it has extensively validated several of its drugs in state-of-the-art animal models of diseases of the heart & lung (cardiopulmonary), as well as in blood clotting (thrombosis), acute pulmonary inflammation, oncology, and certain other clinical conditions.

ATXA is initially focused on clinical advancement of its lead drug NTP42 for the treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) and related cardiopulmonary diseases. NTP42 is confirmed to display excellent specificity, safety, and efficacy to treat this disease in the gold-standard PAH disease models. In the past year, NTP42 was tested in a first-in-human Phase I clinical trial where it was confirmed as safe, well-tolerated, and pharmacologically active at low oral doses.

ATXA’s drugs pipeline is protected by a strong existing (currently 14 granted patents, mainly valuable composition-of-matter patents) and a growing patent estate globally.   As a critical endorsement of its clinical potential, ATXA has Orphan Drug Designation for use of NTP42 in PAH from both the European Medicines Agency and the US Food & Drug Administration, carrying with it important business incentives for the company.

Apart from providing substantial financial support, EIC selected companies like ATXA receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.

The EIC Programme now also includes EIC Pathfinder for earlier stage development of future technologies as well as EIC Transition for taking the next steps towards technical and commercial validation. Both of these programmes are upstream of the EIC Accelerator programme and have their own eligibility criteria.

The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from start-ups and SMEs with female CEOs.