By Damien Maher
The midlands, and more specifically Mullingar, is continuing to emerge as a likely location for an exciting new industry that will lead the way in the fight against cancer.
As further developments are awaited on that front, Topic met with Dr Andrzej Nowek, Chief Technology Officer at Elbe Valley Medical in Mullingar, the company behind this exciting development.
Dr Nowek worked as an Assistant Professor in Poland and as Project Manager before joining Elbe Valley Medical in their current location at Fair Green in Mullingar and the majority of his academic work has been undertaken in Poland. Creating a therapy for cancer is a daunting challenge, a conundrum that has perplexed the most talented people in the world, but Dr Nowek is excited to be involved in the Mullingar project.
“This is about the future impact of technology, especially in finding a therapy for cancer, which is a little bit different – more related to micro technology and applications of those techniques,” he explained.
Dr Nowek is fascinated by the Elbe Valley Medical approach, and is positive about potential American investment.
He was one of the first people to join Elbe Valley founder Robert Reynolds at the new Mullingar-based company last year. The way in which the technology will be useful is what chiefly attracted him to the Mullingar based medical start-up – that plus the opportunity of pioneering a therapy for late stage cancer.
Dr Nowek spent considerable time working in academia and industry across the world and is now involved in similar ground breaking work in Mullingar.
“I know what the impact is for this technology,” he explained.
Dr Nowek had spent time working at major semiconductor firms and such experience allowed him to further develop his skills.
Amongst his achievements, was developing the system for the separation of circulating tumour cells while in Poland. He is a key member of the pioneering team in Mullingar.
“We are creating a product that is new and has exciting potential. The fight against cancer attracted me to this type of work,” he said.
Dr Nowek enjoys living and working in Mullingar and he has a real grá for Irish music. He adores the many idyllic villages around the county and enjoys visiting and exploring beautiful hidden away places at the weekends, something he feels people from Europe would really enjoy.
“Mullingar is a very interesting place to visit; there is so much history surrounding us and the Westmeath people are very welcoming and friendly.
I enjoy reading about Irish history and mythology and avidly try to soak up as much as possible about the past,” he said.
Originally from Warsaw, he met Robert Reynolds in Germany as they were working for the same company.
The new technology that Elbe Valley Medical is working on seems complicated, but they want to make it as simple as possible.
“We want to have a good and safe product, one that is useful for everyone in society who requires cancer therapy of this kind. Scientific work should solve humanity’s problems, and if it does, it’s what everybody would like to have,” he explained.
Dr Nowek is an award winning scientist in his native country, Poland, and is also very keen to develop academic links with institutions within the midlands region as the fight against cancer continues at Elbe Valley Medical.