Izon Science says its nanotechnology measurement instruments may help detect the early stages of cancer, which would allow it to move into the lucrative medical diagnostics market.
The instruments use tiny holes to measure tiny objects, such as particles and proteins, and are useful in virus detection, environment monitoring and industrial quality assurance.
Izon executive chairman Hans van der Voorn says researchers at University College of Dublin used the company's nanopores to detect extremely small bits of protein that indicate cancer or disease.
He says the company is now working with European universities to prove it can detect and monitor early a type of brain cancer that's difficult to identify.
Mr van der Voorn says while it's still at an early stage, its application could be applied to hundreds of other diseases.
He says until now the company has targeted making research instruments for research laboratories, but there is a much bigger market for medical diagnostics - though it's expensive to develop.
"We started off one business that we can afford to build up and start making a profit in and once we've got that up and running it will be a lot easier to fund the expansion of that business into the diagnostic area".