Innovative Cancer Therapy Technology Named Overall Winner of INVENT 2020
An innovative new technology that helps in the treatment of skin cancer has been named as the overall winner of the annual Northern Ireland INVENT Awards.
Organised by Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, INVENT is an annual celebration of the brightest new business ideas in the region, which supports, showcases and rewards the local innovations that have the greatest commercial potential.
The competition aims to shine a light on the creativity of local entrepreneurs and despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic more than 100 talented innovators applied for this year’s INVENT, with 12 fantastic finalists chosen to compete for the main prize.
While INVENT is normally a huge gathering of Northern Ireland’s innovation community, the team pivoted to make it a digital event due to Covid-19 restrictions, with teams pitching at the ICC Belfast’s hybrid studio and streamed live to a virtual audience. The easy to access online format increased engagement, with more than 1500 from around the world tuning in to hear from the entrepreneurs on the night.
The overall winner, KLAS-PDT Technology, took home a prize package of £13,000 from a total prize fund total of £33,000.
KLAS-PDT Technology is a peptide based non-invasive therapy for metastatic melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It is used alongside current immunotherapies to increase their effectiveness at a reduced cost to the provider and less toxicity for the user.
Bridgeen Callan, founder of KLAS-PDT Technology, said: “We have developed an innovative new therapy for treating metastatic melanoma that results in no scarring for the patient and also reduces cost. The INVENT process has been invaluable to help me translate the science into something that is more understandable and which I hope can be made available to everyone.”
Awards category winners on the night were:
- Creative media and Consumer Internet – Sport Buff
- Enterprise Software – Movetru
- Life and Health Sciences – Klas PDT Technology
- Agri Science – Stallion Services
- Engineering- AJEA
- Electronics – AntennaWare
In addition to the main awards, the 12 finalists took to the stage at ICC Belfast’s hybrid studio to give a live one-minute elevator pitch to win £1,000, with the virtual audience voting Truss Buddy the winner of best pitch.
The winner of the Student INVENT competition was announced as Belfast-based Kezie Todd from Ulster University, who has developed Arcadia Report, an immersive mystery experience that transforms your city into an escape room via their rich story-telling platform.
As part of the ceremony four Innovator Awards were also presented to Bloc Blinds, Axial 3D, Surecert and Ulster University’s Professor Tara Moore, who were all recognised for their success in pivoting their business or working to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kerry McGarvey, programme manager at INVENT, said: “Congratulations to Bridgeen and all of this year’s winners and finalists. The finalists are all companies that are aiming to solve real world problems and the breadth of different ideas that were covered in this year’s competition has firmly demonstrated that innovation really is alive and well in Northern Ireland.”
Niall Devlin, Head of Regional Business Centres NI at Bank of Ireland UK, headline partner of the Invent Awards, said: “Invent continues to be an inspiration in Northern Ireland and we’re hugely excited about the fantastic innovations again this year. I am convinced that these entrepreneurs will go on to do amazing things and will represent Northern Ireland well on the global stage. KLAS-PDT Technology has enormous potential and their passionate and talented team are determined to ensure this cutting edge treatment can be made available to everyone. This makes them a very worthy winner. We are delighted to collaborate as a partner with Invent 2020 to help turn these ideas into reality and contribute to the transformation of the local economy.