Dr Nicola Irwin

People with poor control over their bladders increasingly prefer to use intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC) for treatment. This is the procedure where the patients insert catheters via their urethra into their own bladder by themselves. 

Thanks to the greater degree of personal independence and lower infection risk there are over 600 million ISC sold each year. However, the regular insertion of catheters can be painful and lead to complications such as urethral damage, bleeding and inflammation.

nicola irwin w productThe lubricant coatings traditionally used on catheters haven't changed in a decade. They tend to dry out quickly, making them less slippery. This means inserting and removing a catheter can become difficult and painful.

Nicola, Professor Colin McCoy and her team at Queen’s University Belfast developed a new coating that is cheaper, more slippery, stays wet longer and adheres strongly to the catheter which eases insertion and reduces damage on removal.

By transforming catheterisation into a quick and painless process patients can easily do themselves, Uroglide is expected to save medical personnel time and, importantly, make a life-changing difference to the dignity and health of patients.

Uroglide is undergoing independent testing and expected to be available for use by patients in healthcare and home settings next year.

Mentored by

“With the training and mentoring provided through my Enterprise Fellowship, I hope to be able to confidently make the transition from the academic environment to the commercial world. I’m keen to develop my entrepreneurial skills and business acumen so that I can effectively drive the expansion of the company.”

Dr Nicola Irwin



Enterprise Fellowships


Nicola Irwin in the lab

Nicola Irwin


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