Posted on Friday 27 September 2013 by Ulster Business

 25KAwardsOverallWinnerProAx Sis3

Kelly Moffit (left) and Lorraine Martin (centre) from ProAx-Sis with Julie-Ann O’Hare of main sponsor Bank of Ireland

A Queen's University Belfast team which is developing a range of novel medical diagnostic tests has been chosen as the overall winner of this year's NISP CONNECT 25k Awards.

The annual awards, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, are made under the NISP CONNECT entrepreneurship programme, which is based at the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

The tests being developed by ProAx-SiS will enable routine monitoring of patients with chronic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, either within the clinic or at home.
To do so, ProAx-SiS has developed small molecule, peptide-based inhibitors (Protease-Tags), which serve both as a means to trap active proteases and to provide a visual readout of their presence in biological samples, with applications to protease biomarker identification.

Dr Lorraine Martin, the founder of the company, said the company planned to initially use the £10,000 top prize and £2,500 from winning the Bio Tech category of the awards to develop its website and raise the profile of the ProAx-SiS brand.

Queen's University companies ADFerTech and Liopa emerged victorious in the Clean Tech and Software award categories respectively, while University of Ulster-based Eye-C-3D won the Hi-Tech category.

The awards, were presented last night at a packed VIP gala ceremony in the iconic Titanic Belfast building, next to Northern Ireland Science Park in the city's Titanic Quarter.

Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT, said: "Congratulations to ProAx-SiS for an innovation which shows great commercial potential - this is an exciting time for the team, and for all the category winners and finalists.

"The £25k Awards offer a showcase for regional research talent to display world-class innovations, as well as providing a valuable training and development process as they move beyond the initial stages of business development.

"NISP CONNECT programmes are designed to inspire, encourage and nurture local technology entrepreneurs during conception, growth and improvement stages, and to continue that process to help them reach their goals."

Ciaran McGivern, Head of Business Banking Northern Ireland, Bank of Ireland UK, added: "Developing innovative ideas that have market potential is at the core of Northern Ireland's mission to create a more vibrant private sector.

"If we are to make this mission a reality we not only need academia and industry to collaborate but we need commerciality to be part of the equation - to ensure that ideas with real potential can be developed into success stories.

"Bank of Ireland UK is proud and delighted to support the NISP Connect 25k Awards again this year. We wish this year's winner, ProAx-sis and all the finalists every success in the future and look forward to working with them all closely."

Other finalists in the 25k Award included: Jenarron Therapeutics (UU); Digitease (UU), Inkintelligent (QUB), Columbus (QUB), Xpress LF (QUB), Nite Rider (UU).



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