Cancer researcher Prof William Gallagher has today been presented with the NovaUCD 2011 Innovation Award in recognition of his ongoing successes in the commercialisation of intellectual property coming out of UCD research programmes.

Gallagher, who is a research in UCD’s School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, received the award today from UCD president Dr Hugh Brady.

A major focus of his research at UCD has been on the identification and validation of candidate biomarkers – which indicate the therapeutic response of patients to treatments – of breast cancer and melanoma and the conversion of his research results into clinically relevant assays or tests which can help to improve the quality-of-life of cancer patients.

His research has to date resulted in the formation of a UCD spin-out company, OncoMark, which currently employs 12 people at NovaUCD, seven invention disclosures, five priority patent applications, and one executed licence with another one pending.

Together with Stephen Penney, Gallagher set up OncoMark in 2007 to support cancer drug development through tissue-based biomarker development and validation. The company has already secured over €3.5m in research funding from European Framework 7 (FP7) Programmes and has embarked on its own biomarker discovery programme while also in-licensing technologies for validation and product development.

OncoMark, which also provides digital pathology and tissue processing services to pharma and biotech industry, plans to double its workforce at NovaUCD by 2013.

“William Gallagher is an absolute dynamo and epitomises everything this university is trying to achieve in terms of translating high-quality scientific discovery into patents and ultimately, commercial innovations,” said Brady.

“This award acknowledges him as an excellent role model to young scholars and academics as he combines excellence in teaching and in research with a strong commitment to and track record in innovation and the successful commercialisation of his research-generated intellectual property for the benefit of society and the economy.”

Gallagher has secured over €17m in research funding as principal investigator within UCD from Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society, the Health Research Board of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the European Commission.