Stokes Bio Ltd a University of Limerick spin-out company has been bought by California-based Life Technologies for million. The company which emerged from the Stokes Research Institute at UL, has pioneered the development of revolutionary genetic analysis instruments. Stokes Bio technologies have found their first application in genetic analysis enhanced plant breeding. The University of Limerick is a significant shareholder in Stokes Bio.
Stokes Bio was established in 2005 and initially attracted a €1million investment by the Bank of Ireland Kernel Venture Capital Fund as well as being backed by Enterprise Ireland and the University of Limerick. Its principal directors are UL's Professor Mark Davies and Dr Tara Dalton who pioneered micro fluidic systems for genetic analysis. The Company which employs 31 staff at present is hoping to expand its staff numbers and is moving premises to a larger c. 9,000 sq. ft. premises in the National Technology Park at the University of Limerick.
Professor Mark Davies and Dr Tara Dalton of Stokes Bio
Speaking about the buy-out announcement UL President, Professor Don Barry said that UL research continues to out-perform international benchmarks for delivery of commercial licenses and spinouts per euro invested. "In total, six UL campus companies have been set up over the past three to four years, attracting in excess of €30 million in investment funding. These companies employ over 80 people locally at graduate and PhD level. The sale of UL spin-out company Stokes Bio to Life Technologies is a strong endorsement of the value of investing in research and development in this country. It represents one of the biggest university spin-out acquisitions in the history of the state and we congratulate our UL colleagues Professor Mark Davies and Dr. Tara Dalton on what has been the result of many years of innovation and dedication. This is a perfect example of the way in which research and innovation can lead to high-end jobs and foreign investment. We are particularly pleased to learn that a sector leading company of the stature of Life Technologies intends to invest in research and development in Limerick over the coming years."
UL Vice President Research, Professor Brian Fitzgerald said "it is particularly significant for Ireland that important work of this nature is being pioneered by scientists and engineers at the University of Limerick, and is an excellent vindication of UL's translational research approach. Professor Davies and Dr Dalton developed the technology to produce instrumentation delivering much higher genome data throughput at a lower cost. This sale further highlights the strength and diversity of the growing indigenous biotechnology industry in Ireland and reflects the excellent research being carried out in Irish universities."