In the latest edition of our NUI Galway 2020 Innovation Spotlight Series, we spoke to Rory Clerkin, CEO of Holywood Medical recently about the company, their product and the impact they hope it will have around the world. Holywood recently participated in the BioExel Programme ran in conjunction with the NUI Galway Innovation Office.
Can you tell us a little bit about your product?
Currently, there is no diagnostic test on the market to diagnose or predict a migraine. Holywood Medical have a patented biomarker test that can facilitate both. As per our dual test market strategy our target market is both clinical and home test customers. Both of these markets have significant unmet needs for a test of this nature. For our clinical test, our target market is the U.S. including the 209,000 primary care physicians and 18,000 neurologists/headache specialists. Our technology will enable clinicians to diagnose migraine accurately and reliably.
For our home test, our target market are the 36 million episodic migraineurs in the U.S. This will be a daily use test for them so the total addressable market is significant. The test will enable the migraineur to predict a migraine up to 24 hours in advance, thereby allowing them to better manage their condition by targeting their medication. Following market entry and growth in the U.S. we will enter the European market. Our technology will result in both a reduction in the use of resources and costs involved.
Who makes up the team at Holywood Medical?
Our core team are the three co-founders. As CEO, my responsibilities include the daily running of the business, pitching for investment, applying for grants, among other jobs. My background is as a senior medical scientist with 20 years management experience. Morris Black is a lead technical specialist for a world renowned pharmaceutical company with a strong background in diagnostics and immunoassays. Prof. Philip Lamey is a consultant oral surgeon and is the one who made the original discovery.
Our diverse advisory team adds a solid backbone in terms of biomarker and financial/commercial experience and knowledge. The original investigational studies were carried out in Queen’s University Belfast. Due to academic commitments and lack of commercial know-how the work ended up in the bottom drawer, so to speak. Holywood Medical was founded in 2018 to bring this important discovery to the market. The capital was raised through participating in the BioExel Programme which is funded by WDC, Enterprise Ireland, Galway University Foundation and Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund.
How have you raised funding for your project?
We are currently running a month-long study in Edinburgh that will provide us with up to date data. This combined with our previous data and prototype development/proof of principle will put us in a very strong position for seed funding. The test development process with take 14-16 months. The seed funding will take us to an inflection point post test development, with a new patent in place, a defined route to market for both tests and in a very strong position for Series A funding. This second round of funding will enable us to undertake the necessary investigational studies required for regulatory approval.