A leading Irish science investor backed by a Ryanair co-founder is being liquidated

Dublin-based Growcorp has built up major losses.

By Paul O'Donoghue Reporter, Fora

GROWCORP, ONCE ONE of Ireland’s most prominent supporters of indigenous life sciences firms, is going into liquidation.

New filings for Growcorp Group Ltd show that Bryan O’Neill was appointed as the company’s liquidator at the end of December.

Founded in 2001, Growcorp was the first Irish private investment fund targeted specifically at the bioscience sector.

The company was supported by Irelandia, which owns 60% of the voting shares in the business. Irelandia is the investment vehicle for the Ryan family, which includes Ryanair co-founder Declan Ryan.

Growcorp was led by professor Michael Donnelly, an electronics engineer who worked with the likes of the US Department of Defense, and it invested in several prominent businesses in the sector.

However, in the last few years Growcorp has built up large losses that continued to mount.

A few days before the liquidator was appointed, Growcorp’s directors, Donnelly and Aoife Gallen, filed a notice requesting a voluntary wind-up of the company.

In the wind-up statement they said, having made a full inquiry into the state of the business, it was determined that Growcorp would be able to “pay or discharge its debts and other liabilities with 12 months”.

The company’s most recent accounts show that it has accumulated losses of €15 million. Fora was unable to contact Growcorp for comment.


While Growcorp was once a prominent player in the Irish science industry, the company hasn’t been active in years.

Its most recent reported activity took place in 2013, when it took part in a €9 million funding round for Trino Therapeutics, which was developing a drug to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

Trino went into liquidation in 2016 and is now dissolved. Several other companies that Growcorp backed have also folded.

For example, a liquidator was appointed to Merrion Pharma, which was focused on developing tablets forms of drugs that could only be received via injection, at the end of 2016

Growcorp was one of the early backers in Merrion, whose supporters also included Declan Ryan individually.

The most recent accounts for Growcorp show that the company made a €1 million loss in the year to the end of 2014.

It had accumulated losses of €14.7 million and owed €14.5 million to its creditors at the time. It was owed just over €558,000 by its debtors.

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