Science & Technology in Action

Enterprise Ireland

Opsona is a new biotechnology enterprise based at St James’ Hospital, and is associated with Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The start-up company hopes to lead a new wave of Irish companies developing biotechnology-based drugs.

The company is focused on discovery and development of new drugs to treat disorders of the immune system, such as inflammation and autoimmune diseases – which include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.

Opsona employs 13 scientists and eight management and administrative personnel. The company was founded in 2004 by three of Ireland’s leading immunologists and an Australian entrepreneur. The company has licensed intellectual property from Trinity College Dublin and is also generating new intellectual property in the form of patent applications. 

They have recently announced their collaboration with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a multi-national drug company, for the discovery, development and production of a new drug for the treatment of inflammatory disease. The targets include an exciting group of receptors, called toll-like receptors (TLRs); these are special proteins that are sensitive to the presence of pathogens and can trigger an imflamatory response. 

The company was provided with €6.25m by a group of international venture capitalist investors in 2005, including Seroba (Ireland), Inventages (Switzerland), Genentech (USA) and Enterprise Ireland. Opsona is emerging as a leader in its field, and is underpinned by novel scientific concepts and world-leading experts.