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News & Events | UCC Innovation

ArrayPatch Announced as Winners of IDEATE Ireland Business Competition

June 21, 2023

Dr Caroline Blackshields, Dr Waleed Faisal, Dr Ziad Sartawi at the 2023 IDEATE Ireland Business Competition

Dr Waleed Faisal and the ArrayPatch team were announced on Tuesday 20th June as the winners of the 2023 IDEATE Ireland business competition.

The IDEATE Ireland business plan competition is committed to enhancing cooperation, connection and mutual understanding of business activities on the island of Ireland, engaging with communities and traditions around a shared passion for entrepreneurship and new venture development. IDEATE Ireland seeks to uncover and empower Ireland’s next generation of entrepreneurs, helping to turn their brilliant ideas into thriving international businesses.

The business competition provides a unique opportunity for participants to put entrepreneurship principles into practice. Participants in the competition must have an innovative product, service or technology with global scalability to achieve international sales and create employment. The ten best submissions participated in a ten-week mentoring and support program, and competed for a €27,000 total prize fund. Out of these submissions, Dr Waleed Faisal and the ArrayPatch team emerged victorious.

The ArrayPatch technology is a proprietary wearable microneedle patch designed to fight nail fungal infection. ArrayPatch seeks to reduce treatment time and improve patient outcome over standard of care by using a painless ArrayPatch, which consists of an array of sharp but painless dissolvable microneedles that penetrate the skin on application and then dissolve to deliver a locally effective dose of medication.

ArrayPatch aims to take a slice of the global onychomycosis treatment market currently worth US$4.5 billion. In the last 4 years, the technology has attracted a total fund of €1.34M. UCC Innovation expects to establish a spinout company around this technology within 10 months, with the anti-fungal patch anticipated to hit the pharmacy shelves within 4-5 years when clinical trials are completed.

Commenting on his win, Dr Faisal – a Project Manager with UCC’s School of Pharmacy and a former SPRINT program participant said: “It’s fantastic to see one of the UCC’s teams awarded such a prestigious award to transform commercially relevant research into investable high potential start-ups oops. The IDEATE Ireland program provided us with a unique opportunity to put our entrepreneurship principles into practice. It has had a significant impact on our journey of validating our customers and navigating the available funding to further advance our new venture idea. The competition was a dynamic and challenging experience, and being the overall winner will give our start up the best possible kickstart.”

To find out more about the IDEATE Ireland competition, visit