Trinity teams receive Enterprise Ireland funding to commercialise research

Posted on: 11 August 2020

Two teams of Trinity researchers have received funding of approximately €400,000 from Enterprise Ireland to commercialise their work.

Dr Aisling Dunne

The first project, Adjuvenate – A platform solution for improved subunit vaccines, is led by Principal Investigator, Dr Aisling Dunne, Associate Professor in Neuroinflammation.

The rise in infectious disease and the need to develop new vaccines that are capable of eliciting effective and sustained immune responses is a significant global issue – as evidenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Another respiratory disease that exemplifies the need for better, more effective vaccines is whooping cough.


This disease is on the rise due to inability of current vaccines to provide sustained immunity.

Dr Dunne’s team has discovered and patented a new whooping cough vaccine component that has the potential to be a third generation stand-alone booster vaccine for whooping cough.

The funding will support the further development of this novel adjuvant, in the first instance to develop a new, improved whooping cough vaccine. Secondly, the team will continue to develop the adjuvant molecule as a novel adjuvant for combination with other new vaccines in development to help induce a more effective and sustained immune response.


The second project, Development of gene therapies for common retinal disorders, is led by Principal Investigator, Professor Jane Farrar, Research Professor in Genetics and the Trinity Institute of Neurosciences.

Professor Jane Farrar (far right) and her research team.

Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in the developed world. There are two distinct forms of AMD – Dry AMD and Wet AMD. While there are several effective treatments for Wet AMD there are no licensed medical therapies for Dry AMD. The Dry form of AMD represents more than 90% of cases of AMD and affects approximately 150 million people globally.

Professor Farrar’s team has developed a promising novel gene therapy for Dry AMD and will use the funding to develop in vitro human cell models and finalise in vivo preclinical data packs and to initiate key commercialisation activities, and finalise the clinical development plan and first-in-human study design.  The research of the ocular genetics team in Trinity is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, Fighting Blindness Ireland, Health Research Charities Ireland, the Irish Research Council and a Marie Sklodowska-Curie innovative training network.

Eithne McShane of Enterprise Ireland, said:

We have seen in recent months the importance of medical research and look forward to assisting each on their journey to the marketplace with the ultimate goal of improving lives.

Prior to the commercialisation funding, the projects also received €15,000 from Enterprise Ireland to conduct commercial feasibility studies.

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