Irish Times Business Person of the Month: Seamus Gorman

Hibergene chief executive Seamus Gorman has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for May, an award run in association with KPMG.

Irish diagnostics company Hibergene made a breakthrough in testing for Covid-19 last month when it secured European Union approval to market a highly accurate, low-cost, rapid test for coronavirus.

The test promises to deliver results for patients who have the Covid-19 virus within 30 minutes, enabling rapid diagnosis of the disease at the early and highly infectious stage of infection. It can determine, within an hour, if patients have no sign of the virus.

It operates without the reagents whose scarcity undermined testing at an earlier critical stage of the pandemic and can be completed in a fraction of the time required by the big centralised laboratories that have been responsible for testing until now.

Reopening economies

Rapid accurate testing is seen as critical for governments if they are to succeed in reopening economies and getting people back to work.

The Dublin company was among 18 coronavirus-related projects to win backing when the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund put out a special call for ideas to tackle the rapidly spreading pandemic in January. And it is the first to deliver results, with the Irish company securing EU approval in May to market its new test across Europe and plaudits from Mariya Gabriel, the EU commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth,

Mr Gorman will now go forward as a candidate for the Business Person of the Year Award.