Making it Work

Galway medtech Endowave raising €5m for game-changing lung cancer treatment

The firm’s microwave ablation device is ready for first in-human clinical study

Jonathan Bouchier-Hayes, co-founder of Endowave: ‘The energy works on the same principle as your microwave oven at home.’ Picture: Andrew Downes, xposure

Endowave, which is developing a new device to treat lung cancer, is currently raising €5m in its first round of equity to complete a first in-human clinical study of its technology.

The Galway based company, founded in 2018, is working to develop a minimally invasive device which uses microwave energy to treat the disease. It is hoped the device will help treat the 85 per cent or so of lung cancer patients who are ineligible for surgery.

Company Details Endowave

Founded by: Jonathan Bouchier-Hayes, Jimmy Eaton-Evans and Giuseppe Ruvio in 2018

Staff: 20

Funding: €5m in the first round of equity

“The Endowave technology has the potential to treat these patients. Our technology uses microwave energy to heat and destroy diseased tissue. The energy works on the same principle as your microwave oven at home but instead of heating from the outside, we have miniaturised the technology in our device so that it can be delivered through a patient’s mouth and deep into their lung and then inserted into a tumour,” Bouchier-Hayes, the chief executive of Endowave, told the Business Post.

Once inserted the device delivers a precise, targeted dose of energy into the tumour, allowing for localised treatment which avoids having to remove large sections of the lung.

“This process is called microwave ablation and has been used for a number of years to treat other cancers, such as in the liver, but the procedure to deliver it in such a minimally invasive way into the lung, is novel and groundbreaking,” he said.

Bouchier-Hayes and Jimmy Eaton-Evans, the chief technology officer, established the clinical need to treat lung cancer in a minimally invasive way while they were participating in an Enterprise Ireland (EI) sponsored Bioinnovate programme at the University of Galway.

After securing a funding grant from EI’s commercialisation fund, Giuseppe Ruvio, an expert in microwave technology with a PhD in microwave technology, joined the project.

In addition to the funding grants and becoming a high-potential start-up (HPSU), Bouchier-Hayes said being a part of EI programmes had allowed him to learn from other start-up founders.

“Personally, I’ve particularly enjoyed being part of this year’s EI founders’ forum group, which has allowed me to learn from other chief executives of start-up companies in various industries and to share my challenges and concerns,” he said.

This initial round of funding allowed for development of the concept and the start of the company. “Our microwave ablation device will combine with other new technological developments in the field of robotics and advanced imaging to potentially create a paradigm shift in the treatment of lung cancer in the near future,” Bouchier-Hayes said.

The company has grown significantly since 2020, with a team of 20 people developing its treatment for lung cancer. According to Bouchier-Hayes, it has also built a global leading microwave ablation technology capability across the team during that time.

As well as developing its own technology, focused on treating lung cancer, in 2021, the company secured a multimillion euro collaboration agreement to develop a separate microwave ablation device to treat liver cancer for a multinational medical device company.

“We now have a track record in the development of microwave ablation devices, and this has given us great confidence in our ability to execute on our plan for our own technology.”