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Ulster Backs Leading Biotech StartUp SiSaf

23 October 2013

The University of Ulster has increased its investment in SiSaf Ltd., one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative start-up bio-tech companies. The news comes as the growing company secured new funding in the region of £500,000 to carry out clinical trials of its new drug delivery system.

SiSaf, which is located in the Northern Ireland Science Park and the Irish Innovation Center, San Jose, Silicon Valley, California, is using the investment to complete the clinical trials of its innovative drug carrier system, SiSafe®. The first application being trialled involves an application to cure acne more efficiently, and without any adverse side effects. The innovative drug delivery formulation could radically change the efficacy and safety of current acne skin treatments.

The funding has been provided by a consortium of investors, which includes Co-Fund NI, a Fund created by Invest Northern Ireland and part financed by the European Regional Development Fund, Innovation Ulster Ltd, two angel investors and led by ITLG’s fund, Silicon Valley Global Ventures (SVG Ventures).

Dr Suzanne Saffie-Siebert, Chief Executive of SiSaf commented: “The company is at a really exciting stage in its development. This funding allows us to begin critical clinical trials of SiSaf’s innovative drug delivery super app. Once these trials have successfully concluded, SiSaf will be able to use the outcome across a number of platforms including animal vaccination and anaesthesia applications as well as the efficient treatment of acne.”

SiSaf’s Chairman, Mr. John Hartnett, who is Founder of ITLG and SVG, one of Silicon Valley’s leading tech investors said:

“We have seen considerable progress by SiSaf since it won the ITLG Innovation Awards in 2010 and we are delighted now to announce our 3rd follow on investment in this exciting biotech company.”

He added: “I believe the potential for SiSaf to attract further large scale private equity capital investment is significant given its cutting edge bio-technology and the wide variety of applications.”

Tim Brundle, CEO of Innovation Ulster Limited (IUL) said: “Innovation Ulster Ltd is very excited by the rapid progress made by SiSaf and I look forward to continuing the collaboration with the University of Ulster through the company’s next stage of development.

"Working in conjunction with the University of Ulster's Professor Jim McLaughlin, who is also the company’s CSO, there are benefits for both the company and the University's Nanotechnology and Integrated Bio-Engineering Centre. Silicon nano particles produce many challenges, but the strong potential drug delivery benefits are well highlighted by the company. ”

Neil Simms from Clarendon Fund Managers who manage Co-Fund NI investments said: “Our investment in SiSaf Ltd takes our total investment from the Co-Fund NI to over £3.5m and we are delighted to have made this recent investment in a company which is led by such an experienced, driven CEO. We are excited by the significant potential of this company and its drug delivery super apps.”


Notes to Editors:

About SiSaf

SiSaf Ltd is a bio-tech company located in the Northern Ireland Science Park and San Jose, Silicon Valley.

Clinical trials of its new drug delivery system super apps will begin this month with comprehensive results expected Qtr 1 2014.

About ITLG & SVG

John Hartnett is Chairman of SiSaf LTD as well as Founder of ITLG and SVG, one of Silicon Valley’s leading tech investors.

Established in October 2007 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, the ITLG is a non-profit organisation comprised of high-level global technology leaders who are Irish or Irish-American. The Group includes senior executives from some of the worlds leading corporations, each of whom are committed to promoting the technology connection between Ireland and Silicon Valley, and helping Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities. For more information, please visit

The Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) is hosting a major Forum on January 28th, 2014 in Limerick –

The event will be a phenomenal networking opportunity where delegates are guaranteed to establish valuable industry connections and links to Silicon Valley and discover future trends in technology and hear from Silicon Valley leaders on the latest developments in Hi Tech, Bio Tech, mobile, digital and cloud computing.

About Co-Fund NI

Co-Fund NI is provided by Invest NI and part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for NI.

The aim of the Fund is to ensure that businesses with growth potential are not held back because they cannot access equity finance.

The Fund is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers Ltd.

Information on the fund can be found at

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