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Hooke Biotechnology secures €5.5m from EIC Accelerator

Hooke Biotechnology have secured €5.5m in blended finance from the highly competitive Horizon Europe EIC Accelerator to develop Mera.

Lauren Olson

Senior Technical Analyst/Writer


5 minute read


Drug development is a long and expensive process. A significant part of this time and money goes into the preclinical phase where drugs are tested on animal models. However, these animal tests are not always effective in predicting human responses.

Fortunately, Hooke Bio has come up with a game-changing solution: Mera, a “body-on-a-chip” platform that aims to make drug testing more efficient and humane.

Funded by €5.5m from the Horizon Europe EIC Accelerator, Mera will offer a more reliable and humane way to test drugs.

The Problem with Traditional Drug Testing

High Costs and Time Consumption

The initial phase of drug testing, known as preclinical drug screening, accounts for 40% of the total costs and takes up 60% of the time. This makes drug development expensive and time-consuming.

Ineffectiveness of Animal Models

Although animal models are the standard, they are not always reliable. Of the drugs that make it through animal testing, 89% fail when they move on to human trials. About 50% of these failures are due to unexpected toxicity in humans. Furthermore, 700 HIV/AIDS vaccine trials have shown promise in animals but failed in humans.

Predictive Limitations and Ethical Dilemma

Existing screening and animal models simply do not simulate the conditions of the human body realistically enough for scientists to make accurate predictions based on experimental results.

Testing drugs on animals is highly unrepresentative in replicating the human response: Animal testing’s current predictive power is around 60% effective. 90–95% of drugs found to be safe and effective in animal tests fail during human clinical trials, primarily because of toxicities not predicted by animal tests or because of lack of efficacy.

Mera: The Game-Changing Platform

What is Mera?

Hooke Bio has developed Mera, a groundbreaking “body-on-a-chip” solution that simulates the entire human body’s response to drugs. Unlike existing models that mimic just single organs, Mera offers a more holistic approach.

Funding and Support

The company, with the help of the grant bid writing team at Myriad Associates, has secured €5.5 million from the Horizon Europe EIC Accelerator, a highly competitive funding program. The support from Enterprise Ireland has also been instrumental in this achievement.

Benefits of Mera

  • Higher Success Rates: Mera aims to double the success rate of drug testing.
  • Ethical Advantages: The technology has the potential to reduce animal testing by 19 million animals per year.

Testimonials: The Team Behind Mera

Mark Lyons, CEO, Hooke Bio said: “Hooke Bio’s Mera platform will be transformative for the drug development process. Our success in the EIC accelerator will allow us to bring this to market faster enabling us to have a positive impact on the lives of patients throughout the world. Enterprise Ireland have played a key role in supporting us on this journey from its very inception.”

Finola Cliffe, COO, Hooke Bio said: “Marc and his team have assisted us in securing EIC Accelerator funding (blended finance). I doubt that we would have navigated the complicated EIC process and portal successfully without their in depth knowledge of the structure of the portal, and of strategic grant writing. They have fantastic attention to detail, are easily contactable and always very clear with their feedback.

Marc and Lauren were always positive and encouraging throughout the process and was always confident that we would succeed. The assistance does not end with notification of the funding, they continues to advise, assist and put us in contact with others in his wide network who have received similar funding.

I would eagerly look forward to working with both Marc and Lauren in the future as not only do they excel in their jobs but are really lovely people also.”


The shortcomings of traditional drug testing methods are glaring, both in terms of their predictive power and their ethical considerations. Hooke Bio’s Mera platform is poised to disrupt this landscape by offering a more efficient and humane alternative. With substantial funding and a dedicated team, Mera is set to make a lasting impact on drug development and potentially save millions of lives.

Could your company be awarded millions in an R&D grant?

Knowing exactly which funding competitions are available, and to whom, is notoriously difficult. Navigating the strict criteria and building an application that stands out is another challenge altogether.

Why Choose Myriad Associates?

  • Specialisation: We specialise in R&D grants across the medical and healthcare sectors.
  • Expertise: Many years of specialised knowledge back our approach.
  • Personalisation: We work closely with you to craft a persuasive, highly-tuned application.

Our Results

  • €300 Million+ in Grants: Secured in just 3 years.
  • DTIF: 17 wins.
  • Horizon Europe EIC: 32 wins.
  • Other EU Grants: 9 wins.

Rankings and Scores

  • #1 Ranking: Achieved three times in European grant funding applications.
  • #2 Ranking: Earned four times in European grant funding applications.
  • Top 5 Ranking: Achieved four times in Europe.
  • Perfect Score: Scored 15/15 in 3 EU funding applications.
  • Multiple Projects: Secured 2 or more projects for 10 companies.

Our market-leading team is ready to put your company front and centre, aiming to secure the R&D grants in Ireland that elevates your innovation strategy to the next level.

Millions of euros on non-repayable grant funding could be at stake. Why not see what we can do for you. Contact us on +353 1 566 2001 or send us a message and we'll call you back.

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