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Ulster University staff, students and alumni collected awards at the Invent 2018 final last night. The annual showcase event organised by Catalyst Inc. and sponsored by Bank of Ireland recognised SonoTarg, Crafted Equestrian and Gofyt as having great commercial potential.

Ulster University researchers Professor John Callan and Professor Tony McHale were announced as the life and health sciences category winner at Invent 2018 for SonoTarg, an ambitious technology that aims to provide a targeted delivery of a novel drug combination to improve survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients.

The annual showcase event organised by Catalyst Inc. and sponsored by Bank of Ireland rewards local innovations and proof of concept ideas that have great commercial potential.

SonoTarg Founder, Professor John Callan commented:

“Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rates of any common cancer and 5 years after diagnosis these are as low as 5%. Only around 20% of patients diagnosed are eligible for surgery which remains the only hope of a cure. We have dedicated our research efforts to develop a new approach for the treatment of pancreatic cancer and we are confident this will have an impact on survival rates. By using drug loaded microbubbles together with ultrasound, SonoTarg aims to increase the number of patients who can benefit from surgery and prolong the life of patients who can’t.

“Collecting this award is an honour and I thank all my colleagues who have helped take this technology from concept to readiness for a human trial. The exposure from winning this award will help further raise awareness of the technology which we aim to take to market in 2020. Our ultimate goal is to help improve the quality of life and life expectancy of pancreatic cancer patients.”

In a memorable night for Ulster University, Product Design student and CEO of Crafted Equestrian Jenny Gregg was recognised for her work in designing a customisable girth for horses to prevent and reduce girth galls which can cause significant discomfort. Jenny collected the student award and agri science award alongside Ulster University’s Research and Impact team and the Ulster University Students Union Enterprise Centre.

Former Ulster University students Jason Harvey and Andrew McCracken won the best elevator pitch and creative media and consumer internet categories, with Gofyt, an online marketplace that connects the user to a health and fitness provider.

Head of Innovation & Impact, Fiona McElroy said;

“We’re delighted to see that our staff, students and alumni have been recognised for their innovative work, rooted locally with global significance. We’re committed to helping our students and staff create an innovative launch pad with the skills and knowledge to be in a position to present a marketable and investable proposition.”

For more information about SonoTarg visit

For more information about Crafted Equestrian visit