Loci Orthopaedics #PurposePeoplePlace

Loci Orthopaedics is a multi-award winning medical device company specialising in the development of orthopaedic technologies to meet unmet clinical needs in the orthopaedics extremities space based in the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre. In our latest post from our NUI Galway 2020 Innovation Spotlight Series, we spoke to Fiona Mangan, a Biomedical Engineer with Loci Orthopaedics.

How was Loci Orthopaedics formed?

Brendan and Gerry participated in the Bioinnovate Master’s Program where a group of clinicians, engineers and other disciplines formed groups to search for unmet clinical needs. After seeing the gap in the market for carpometacarpal (CMC) joint replacement they decided to meet this need with a unique and innovative minimal invasive orthopaedic implant. Loci's unique selling point is that this implant was designed through evidence based research that showed the complexities of the joint that the InDx implant will accommodate. Our target market is people with severe thumb based arthritis.

Tell us a little bit about the team at Loci Orthopaedics

Our team consists of our CEO Brendan Boland, a clinician by practice, our CTO, Gerry Clarke, a previous Senior Engineering Manager at Medtronic having also an MBA, our Quality Consultant Frank Enright and of course our three clinicians and myself, Fiona Mangan Biomedical Engineer having graduated in May 2018 and began working with Loci Orthopaedic in September 2018.

How have you gone about funding your research so far, and how is the product coming along?

We raised capital through Enterprise Ireland Commercial Fund, private investment & were awarded funding through FTI as part of the European Innovation Council. We also won the InterTrade Ireland Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition in 2018. After years of designing we have reached a stage where we have a viable product that the clinicians are happy to pursue in clinical trials. Our U.S. patent has been published and we have a clear IP and the EU government has awarded Loci Orthopaedics €2.5m to “Fastrack” the InDx system to market and we are beginning clinical trials in Ku Lueven this year.

What are some of your biggest successes to date?

We've had a lot of great successes to date. Most recently, we were the lead partner in a consortium awarded more than €2.5m in grant funding. Previously, we closed a round of seed funding worth €2.75m in 2018 and along with this, we have been mentioned in a number of articles ranking us in the top Medtech start-ups both in Ireland and Europe, which is really great to see.

Why did you want to join the start-up community?

I wanted to join the enterprising community as I think becoming an entrepreneur means you are ready to undertake something new and challenging so the people I work with have enormous passion. When people have passion, they become natural teachers to new employees and very soon you share their own goals and ambitions.

Would you recommend following in your footsteps and joining the start-up community?

I would undoubtedly recommend joining the start-up community. Traditional views of joining a start-up were associated with risk and uncertainty and graduates are often recommend to look for stability and long–term. I had been asked by my family and colleagues if I was sure this was something I wanted to do. I was confused as for me a window of opportunity had just opened up and this seemed like the most ‘stable’ choice as it was a perfect way to develop my career. In actual fact I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining a start-up. Today as engineers we have so many doorways to opportunities, which have been carved out by the generation before us. I was very lucky to be hired by Brendan and Gerry who have created a very established organisation under the start-up hood. When you graduate it can be overwhelming as you feel that you need to specialise in a certain area. For areas of engineering, business and medicine it may guide you to finding a particular area of interest or if not catch the bug yourself and start your own business! At the moment I like to take things day by day so the start-up community suits me perfectly.

Finally, how has working in the Business Innovation Centre helped both you and Loci Orthopaedics?

Coming from NUI Galway you see the importance of growing and respecting your network. Being part of the BioMedical community at NUI Galway is invaluable. One lesson I have learned from the BIC is to keep your eyes and ears open to opportunities, as you never know what might come around the corner!

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