Irish Venture Capital: Sowing the Seeds

Dec 15, 2005
By BioPharm International Editors

The latest available figures for venture capital activity in Ireland show that for the first half of 2005 there was an increase of 25.7% in comparison with the same period in 2004, despite a decrease of 11.5% in the total amount invested across Europe.

The European Venture Capital Report, recently released by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young, reveals that Ireland has continued to buck the European trend of declining venture capital investment. According to Garry O'Rourke, Senior Manager, Ernst & Young Corporate Services Department, "Ireland continues to perform well against a backdrop of overall decline across Europe. Also, in terms of overall investment into businesses in Ireland, venture capital is only one source, with many companies also receiving corporate and private equity investment. "

Enterprise Ireland, through its "Seed and Venture Capital" program, has been instrumental in stimulating the development of seed funds to address gaps in the financing of business start-ups. A number of new life-sciences venture capital funds have been established and a number of existing firms have ramped up their activity in that sector. The funds active in life sciences investment are Seroba Bioventures, Growcorp, Kernel Capital Partners, 4th Level Ventures, Delta Partners, and ACT Venture Capital. There is also another large fund being mooted for 2006. Listed below is a sampling of the types of companies that are attracting investment. More information also is available at the Irish Venture Capital Association's website at


AGI Therapeutics Limited, based in Dublin and Athlone, is a specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the development of innovative therapeutic products to treat a variety of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia, functional diarrhea, gastroparesis, acid disorders, and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Investment: €9.5 million ($11 million)

Source: Seroba BioVentures and a syndicate of Irish and US investors.

Web site:


Alimentary Health Limited, based in Cork, is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics derived from human probiotics for gastrointestinal disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and C. difficile diarrhea.

Investment: €1.3 million ($1.5 million)

Source: Seroba BioVentures and Enterprise Ireland

Web site:


Celtic Catalysts' focus is on the niche area of chiral chemistry. The company works with chemical catalysts and processes of significant commercial potential to the fine chemical, agrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries to produce products of enhanced therapeutic activity while at the same time allowing innovator companies to extend product life cycles and stave off generic competition.

Investment: €650,000 ($760,500)

Source: 4th Level Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.

Web site:


Deerac Fluidics is a bioinstrumentation company providing low-volume dispensing solutions for the life sciences industry. The company's first product, a bench-top liquid dispensing device, has been launched in Europe and the United States.

Investment: €1.8 million ($2.1 million)

Source: Seroba BioVentures, 4th Level Ventures, Enterprise Ireland, and a syndicate of Irish investors.

Web site:

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