Medical device company – Class Medical – a University of Limerick spinout company have secured seed funding of €550,000 from investors including iHPSU match funding from Enterprise Ireland. Class Medical was founded in 2016 by Dr. Rory Mooney (CEO), Prof. Michael Walsh, Dr Niall Davis and Dr Eoghan Cunnane. Class Medical’s initial product offering is a patent protected device that eliminates the risk and complications associated with the treatment of painful urinary problems.

Transurethral catheterisation (TUC) is the most common method of bladder drainage widely used in hospitals, nursing homes and home-care settings but is also notorious for its discomfort. The current approaches for performing TUC cause injuries in more than 1.3% of male cases leading to extended hospital stays or long-term damage of the urethra. Approximately 130 million catheters are placed annually with an estimated 845,000 incidences of urethral injury due to the catheter balloon being inflated in the wrong location. The preventable injuries result in significant healthcare and insurance cost for healthcare providers.

Class Medical’s devices known as Trans Urethral Catheter Safety Valve (TUCSV) uses an innovative patented safety pressure relief valve to ensure that balloon inflation is minimised in the urethra, while inflation in the bladder is still possible. The technology was developed with the support of both the Bernal Institute and the Health Research Institute at the University of Limerick. The initial research for the TUCSV was undertaken with funding support from the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund after winning the inaugural Enterprise Ireland Cleveland Clinic Clinical Innovation Award. Prof. Michael Walsh was the Prinicpal Investigator on the EI grant.

Dr Hugh Flood, Consultant Urologist and Class Medical CMO, said: “The tragic death of a man in the USA last month after his catheter was inflated in the wrong place causing a serious urethral rupture highlights the problem with medical professionals carrying out what is essentially a blind procedure – it is only a matter of time before there is a death in Ireland due to this very same problem. The Class Medical TUC Safety Valve makes urethral catheterisation completely safe and prevents vulnerable patients from being seriously and painfully injured.”

Class Medical CEO Dr Mooney said: “We are delighted to have secured this round of ‘seed funding’ and smart money as it facilitates Class Medical continuing to execute our commercialisation strategy. The investment will also fund us through to a very significant milestone, where it is envisaged to obtain CE/FDA approval to allow the initial sales of our TUCSV safety valves in the Q2 of 2019 in both the US and EU markets. Class Medical is currently looking to raise a further funding to support the growth of the company.”

Vice President of Research at the University of Limerick, Dr Mary Shire said: “UL has an impressive track-record of creating high value spin-out companies, and Class Medical is another example of this. The future of health research lies in a multi-disciplinary approach to solving complex problems and Class Medical’s combination of Biomedical Engineers and Clinicians working together to tackle a significant clinical problem is a great example of that.”

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