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Silicon Valley Accolade For Ulster Spin-In

19 March 2010

University of Ulster ‘spin-in’ company SiSaf has scooped a top innovation award in the United States’ R&D heartland, Silicon Valley.

The Belfast-based medical technology firm collected one of the two major prizes at the Irish Technology Leadership Group’s (ITLG ) annual awards ceremony for development of an innovative drug-delivery system.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger headed a galaxy of leading business and community figures at this week’s event.  The ITLG awards are sponsored by The Irish Times.

SiSaf was founded in 2006 by Dr Suzanne Roghieh Saffie-Siebert, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster.

Its chairman is Professor Jim McLaughlin, Director of the Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Research Institute (NAMRI), based at Ulster’s Jordanstown campus.

SiSaf has been based at the University since 2008 and has formed a strong alliance with both NAMRI and UUTech, which was rebranded ‘Innovation Ulster’ earlier this month.

Dr Saffie-Siebert, CEO of SiSaf, said: “Our proprietary technology is based on a novel synergistic drug delivery formula that uses nanoparticles to allow active compounds to penetrate deeper into the dermal layer, to target the cell membrane, and to be released in a controlled manner.

She added: “This is a blue-chip accolade from world class business leaders. It is an international acknowledgement of the huge potential of our technology. And a credit to the support from UUTech and the University of Ulster, who have been instrumental for SiSaf’s success.”

The other big winner of the night was Dublin chip design company Redmere, whose technology enables manufacturers to create thin and flexible cables for connecting high definition devices such as television sets and camcorders.

“Innovation is vital, and Ireland’s technology companies continue to offer great promise both in their home markets and on the international stage,” said John Hartnett, co-founder of the ITLG. “It is very rewarding to see Redmere and SiSaf being recognised for their success.”

The ITLG is an independent organization comprised of high-level technology leaders in Silicon Valley who are Irish or Irish-American. It includes senior executives from some of the Valley’s leading corporations whose aim is help Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities.