Category: News from InterSearch Ireland

farmeye logo blue

Green farming is demonstrated by Farmeye through the utilization of space and ground technology.

In collaboration with the European Space Agency, the agri-tech company based in Roscommon, Farmeye, is developing advanced Earth observation technologies specifically designed for agriculture. By leveraging Earth observation technology, Farmeye aims to showcase that farming can contribute positively to the environment.

Having secured a contract with the European Space Agency in 2021, the company utilizes satellites and a ground-based lidar (light detection and ranging) device to analyse and report data on biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

To keep track of the nutritional makeup of each field on a farm, a laptop, desktop or smartphone app can be used to access the map-based soil management system.

“A common misconception in the public is that farming is inherently bad for the environment, and that the industry is using green washing to cover the damage” stated its chief executive, Eoghan Finneran.

In June, Farmeye was established by a trio of individuals: Finneran, a farmer, scientist, and agricultural consultant; Brendan Allen, a marine scientist and food entrepreneur; and Joe Desbonnet, an expert in software engineering. The company originated as a spin-off from a University of Galway project in 2017.

The initial offering from Farmeye was the geotagging feature, which utilized soil samples to create maps detailing the soil quality of various fields and their corresponding timeframes.

It gathers 25 soil samples from each field, assessing them for various soil parameters. The outcomes are then displayed on the field’s map. Farmers can view the results through a cloud-based dataset using either a computer or an app. By pinpointing areas where fertilizer is genuinely required, farmers can potentially save up to 30% on fertilizers. This optimized approach also leads to increased crop yields, resulting in higher output for sale.

Farmeye asserted that it successfully mapped 1.7 million hectares of land across Ireland, the UK, and Australia. By the end of 2023, the company achieved a turnover of €1.6 million and maintained a workforce of 22 employees. During the winter season, a time when soil health analysis is typically prevalent, this workforce can be expanded with the inclusion of subcontractors.

In the upcoming year, Farmeye intends to advance its satellite and lidar technology while also introducing a novel analysis technique.

Read more about Farmeye here.

Deciphex Logo - Grey background with orange logo and white writing

Deciphex has been awarded the title of Irish Medtech Company of the Year.

Deciphex, a Dublin-based pathology startup situated at the DCU Alpha campus, has been honoured as the Medtech Company of the Year at a recent awards ceremony hosted by the Irish Medtech Association. This recognition comes after Deciphex successfully secured €10 million in funding aimed at expanding its services and growing its team.


The accolade acknowledges Deciphex’s outstanding contributions to the field, particularly in the development of an AI diagnostic platform known as Diagnexia. Launched at the close of 2021, Diagnexia offers a digital and fully remote expert pathology service, eliminating the need to transport physical samples over long distances for diagnoses and significantly reducing waiting times. This virtual service grants on-demand access to remote pathology experts and has already been employed by international healthcare providers, including the UK’s National Health Service.


Established in 2017, Deciphex has not only pioneered a remote pathology solution but has also created a digital pathology workflow and integrated AI platform for research pathology. The company, based at the Dublin City University Alpha campus, recently raised €10 million to support its expansion plans, building upon the €3.9 million in additional Series B funding secured earlier in the year. The total Series B funding for Deciphex now stands at €14.4 million, complemented by a €5.45 million Series A round in 2020, supported by Enterprise Ireland and various Irish and US investors in the life sciences and diagnostics fields.


In addition to being crowned Medtech Company of the Year, Deciphex also received the Digital Health Innovation of the Year Award at the Irish Medtech Awards. Other notable winners at the ceremony, co-hosted by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, included Nua Surgical, Symphysis Medical, Croom Medical, and 3M Healthcare in various categories such as Emerging Medtech Company of the Year, Collaboration in Medtech Award, Partner/Supplier of the Year, and Best Diversity and Representation Company Initiative, respectively.


Deciphex’s achievements at the awards ceremony underscore its significant contributions to the medtech industry, marking a milestone in the company’s journey since its founding in 2017.

Read more about Deciphex here.

Cattle in field

Bord Bia successfully lands deals to boost the marketing of EU beef and lamb.

Bord Bia has secured two new EU contracts to promote organic EU lamb and beef, as well as EU mushrooms. These initiatives, valued at a total of €5.7 million over three years, receive support from the EU (€3.96 million), Bord Bia (€1.73 million).


The organic campaign, with an investment of €2.7 million including VAT, focuses on promoting organic beef and lamb in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. Simultaneously, the mushroom campaign, backed by €3 million including VAT, aims to promote mushrooms in the United Kingdom.


A significant portion of Irish organic beef, almost two-thirds, is intended for export markets, while half of the organic lamb is currently sold abroad. The organic beef and lamb campaign aims to increase awareness of the positive attributes of organic beef and lamb, while enhancing trade recognition of the EU organic logo.


Germany stands as Ireland’s largest market for both organic beef and lamb, followed by Belgium as the second-largest market for organic Irish lamb. Sweden and Austria, with strong consumer demand for organic produce and a reliance on imports, are also targeted.


Bord Bia highlights that over 85% of mushrooms grown in Ireland are destined for the UK market. In 2022, more than 43,000 tonnes of mushrooms, valued at €106 million, were exported to the UK.

Variety of colourful foods in lunch box

The Lunch Bag will create 240 new full-time jobs.

A company located in Nenagh, County Tipperary, that produces hot meals for primary school students is set to hire an extra 240 employees to get ready and distribute over 100,000 free meals daily, as part of the upcoming expansion of the program. The Lunch Bag, which has been creating hot school meals for kids for the past five years, is investing €7.5 million into this expansion. They currently have 200 employees and plan to more than double their workforce next year, additionally offering part-time positions for another 450 staff responsible for assembling meals in schools.


This significant expansion of The Lunch Bag’s food preparation and assembly facility near Nenagh is in response to the government’s announcement of substantial plans to grow the school hot meals program in the years to come. What began as a small pilot program in 2019 involving 30 schools has now expanded to encompass 1,700 schools and 300,000 primary school students, with a cost of €94.4 million in the previous year.


The government’s budget includes further expansion of the scheme, allocating additional funds to cover an additional 900 non-DEIS schools and provide meals for another 150,000 students. The government’s objective is to make the free hot meals program available in every school by 2030. In light of this growing demand, The Lunch Bag is expanding its facilities and bringing on board an additional 240 employees to increase their daily meal preparation from 35,000 to 100,000 meals.


These meals are prepared, packaged, and individually labelled with each child’s name, then delivered to each school by truck. They are then placed in an oven by a designated food handler, also employed by The Lunch Bag, in time for distribution at the scheduled lunchtime.

Read more about The Lunch Bag on their official website here.

Vials of liquid on a white table and the logo of a large pharmaceutical company Roche

Roche acquires Telavant Holdings FOR $7.1 billion.

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is making a strategic move to combat the decline in its oncology sales by acquiring Telavant Holdings for a substantial $7.1 billion. This acquisition, involving rights to a promising new inflammatory bowel disease medicine called RVT-3101, signifies Roche’s expansion into diverse markets.


Inflammatory bowel disease affects a staggering 8 million people, presenting a significant healthcare challenge as approximately 80% of those diagnosed struggle to achieve long-lasting remission. Roche’s statement emphasises this urgent medical need.


Roche’s acquisition of Telavant Holdings grants them control over the creation, production, and marketing of RVT-3101 in the US and Japan. This strategic maneuver follows a series of setbacks for Roche, including late-stage trial failures in cancer immunotherapy and Alzheimer’s disease. New CEO Thomas Schinecker aims to rejuvenate the company’s reputation, and this acquisition is his first major step in that direction.


Schinecker has expressed a willingness to explore significant deals that align with both scientific and economic objectives. Notably, Roivant, established by US Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, played a pivotal role in this acquisition.


Roche’s investment extends beyond the initial $7.1 billion, as they’ve committed up to an additional $150 million, subject to meeting various developmental milestones. Sales of well-established pharmaceuticals like Herceptin, Avastin, and Rituxan are projected to decrease by 1.1 billion Swiss francs in 2023 due to the emergence of lower-cost biotech alternatives.


In response to promising phase 2 results against ulcerative colitis, Roche is expediting the third and final phase of clinical trials for RVT-3101, which has the potential to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This medicine belongs to a new category of drugs called anti-TL1A antibodies, which are currently attracting considerable attention in the pharmaceutical industry.


Roche is not alone in this venture, as pharmaceutical giants like Sanofi and Merck & Co. have also entered the anti-TL1A antibody market with substantial investments in similar treatments. Pfizer initially developed RVT-3101, but a 2022 agreement allowed Roivant to assume control over the shares of this medication outside of the US and Japan.


Roche is committed to making this medication accessible to patients as swiftly as possible, emphasising its potential applicability in treating other medical conditions, making this acquisition a significant milestone in the company’s diversification strategy.

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