Making it Work

Making it work: Galway-based Relevium Medical plans €10m Series A round to fund clinical trial research

The start-up medtech company has raised €3.4m to date after developing an injection based form of pain treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee

Relevium Medical founder Alison Liddy: ‘The growth has gone well because of the team behind it’. Picture: Andrew Downes

Relevium Medical, a Galway-based medtech firm, plans to raise €10 million in its next funding round, which the company plans to use to fund clinical trials for its treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee.

Based in the University of Galway, Relevium Medica was founded in 2019 by Alison Liddy and has developed an injection based form of pain treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The Galway medtech firm has 10 staff and has raised €3.4 million in funding to date.

“The biggest problem with knee osteoarthritis now is that most people still rely on oral pain medication. That’s fine for short-term use, but osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, which means patients need to increase medication intake. That means it isn’t suitable for long-term use,” Liddy told the Business Post.

The two main treatments for knee osteoarthritis at present are steroids and hyaluronic acid, both of which have drawbacks Liddy said.

“Hyaluronic acid is safe, but isn’t effective at relieving pain. Steroids are fine for short-term use but nobody wants to be on them long-term because they have serious side effects and can advance the disease,” she added.

“Our treatment is injected into the joint and targets specific pain sensing molecules. It is designed to give patients six months of pain relief with each injection.”

Early investment

The idea for the company grew out of Liddy’s research at BioInnovate Ireland, the national medtech and digital health innovation training centre located at University of Galway, where she was assisted by Prof Martin O’Halloran. The work at this centre also helped Relevium secure early stage investment support from Y Combinator, a major tech accelerator based in the US.

“We’ve applied a lean start-up approach to the business. That has worked well for us. We’re still doing research and development. The problem with that is that it requires big budgets and takes time,” Liddy said.

“The growth has gone well because of the team behind it. We’ve hired some excellent scientists. They have been Swiss army knives. They might have been hired for one function, but they are talented enough to put their hand to anything.”

Fact File

Founded: 2019, by Alison Liddy

Staff: 10

Funding to date: €3.4 million

The business is supported by Enterprise Ireland and is part of the agency’s high potential start-up unit (HPSU).

“The capital investment from Enterprise Ireland has been really important. They carry a lot of credibility. They have also provided a lot of support through their US offices. We’ve used the California office as a base to work out of in that market,” Liddy said.

Relevium plans to start raising its Series A round at the end of this year, with a target of approximately €10 million. In addition, the company intends to add another five or six staff over the next 18 months.

“That funding will allow us to complete our first set of clinical trials and move into our manufacturing facility. We’ve already selected a manufacturing partner. That will help us to scale up the product,” Liddy said.

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland