Expansion mirrors success

Celtic Catalysts, the NovaUCD-based life sciences company, plans to double its workforce to 20 over the next 12 months after completing its initial technology development phase.

Having launched a new range of chiral catalysts the company plans to continue its pipeline development programme and has recently secured a number of research alliance contracts with major pharmaceutical companies. As part of its continued expansion Celtic Catalysts is also seeking to acquire 3-5,000 sq. ft of laboratory space either in UCD or elsewhere in Ireland. NovaUCD is the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at UCD.

Celtic Catalysts is commercialising chiral technology which has been developed over the past five years in UCD’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology where its current laboratory facilitates are located. Celtic Catalysts, whose co-founders are Dr Declan Gilheany and Dr Brian Kelly, established an office in NovaUCD in May 2004.

About 75% of all drugs in pharmaceutical pipelines are chiral compounds. This means that on a molecular level the drugs can exist in mirror image forms. The current market for these types of drugs is estimated at approx $200 billion.

Sometimes this phenomenon of chirality can lead to disastrous side effects, with certain drugs. In order to avoid such problems, pharmaceutical companies are now required to make and test each hand of their chiral drugs. Celtic Catalysts has developed intellectual property which enables global pharmaceutical and fine chemical companies test and manufacture such products cost effectively.