Irish SME anounces world’s first commercial deployment of novel table-top soft X-ray microscope

SiriusXT Ltd, an Irish technology SME, announced today the world’s first commercial deployment of the SXT-100, the company’s unique table-top Soft X-ray Microscope with applications in disease research and the drug discovery process, at the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research at University College Dublin (UCD).

Soft X-ray microscopy (SXM) is the only nanometre-resolution 3D imaging modality that is capable of imaging the whole internal structure of intact biological cells. It is used in disease and therapeutic research to help scientists to better understand disease causation and transmission mechanisms as well as to validate therapeutic effectiveness in the drug discovery process.

Until now, SXM has only been available at six worldwide (UK, Germany, Spain, USA, China and Taiwan) synchrotron facilities, which can typically be the size of several football pitches, with the capability of producing the soft X-ray illumination required for 3D imaging at the nanometre scale.

SiriusXT’s innovation, following years of research by the company’s co-founders at UCD, has been to miniaturise the soft X-ray illumination source to a small chamber that enables the construction of a table-top microscope.

This patented technological breakthrough now allows SXM to be deployed globally at thousands of disease and therapeutic research laboratories.

“The deployment of the SXT-100 at the UCD Conway Institute is an outstanding example of the University’s research and innovation intensive focus and on the emphasis we place on translating fundamental research outputs into innovative products, such as the SXT-100 microscope, which will lead to a greater understanding of health and disease, with the ultimate aim of informing novel drug discoveries,” said Professor Jeremy Simpson, Dean of Science and Principal, UCD College of Science.

He added, “The SXT-100 will now complement other cell imaging resources at the UCD Conway Institute and across the UCD College of Science and it will help UCD-based scientists to progress their research as well as to strengthen collaboration with their peers and industry partners, nationally and internationally.”

“We are really excited to be the world’s first imaging laboratory to have a SXT-100,” said Dr Dimitri Scholz, Director of Biological Imaging, UCD Conway Institute. He added, “This will enable researchers in academia and industry to close the resolution gap between light and electron microscopy as well as to run multiple correlative microscopy projects using combinations of light, soft X-ray and electron microscopy.’’

SiriusXT microscope in the Conway Institute
SME / SiriusXT microscope in the Conway Institute / SME

SiriusXT, an award-winning company headquartered in Dublin, was co-founded by Tony McEnroe, Dr Fergal O’Reilly, Dr Kenneth Fahy and Dr Paul Sheridan, as a UCD spin-out company.

“Today’s announcement is a major milestone for the company. We are delighted that the UCD Conway Institute is the location of our first commercial deployment, ushering in a new era of soft X-ray microscopy at UCD. It is especially pleasing since the technology that underpins the compact soft X-ray illumination source was first developed by the company’s co-founders within the spectroscopy group at the UCD School of Physics,” said Dr Kenneth Fahy, co-founder and Vice-President for Product Management, SiriusXT.

Over twenty European and US-based organisations are currently evaluating the SXT-100, across a wide range of disease research and drug discovery applications, and first international orders are projected in the coming months.

SiriusXT, a NovaUCD-supported company and an Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU), currently employs a staff of 20 and has to date raised over €13 million in grant and equity funding. NovaUCD is the hub of innovation and start-up activities at University College Dublin.

The SXT-100 will be formally unveiled at an event to be held at the UCD Conway Institute on 7 November.