Early stage medical treatments and devices - invented at the Mayo Clinic in the US - are to be developed into "ready for market" products by Irish academic institutions under a new agreement signed today.

It is hoped the five-year plan will lead to the setting up of ten new spin-out companies and the creation of dozens of jobs.

For the past 150 years, the non-profit Mayo Clinic in the US has been a world leader in medical treatment and research.

But according to the clinic, developing a good idea from early stage basic research into a "ready for market" product is expensive and difficult to fund in the US.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today witnessed the signing of an agreement that will see the Mayo Clinic partner with Enterprise Ireland, which has an established commercialisation fund and expertise in the area.

The clinic will hand over 20 promising ideas for new medical technologies and Enterprise Ireland will provide €12m in funding and experts in universities and academic institutions here to develop them for market.

The first project, a device for treating acute pancreatitis, is already being developed at NUI Galway.

It is hoped the unique partnership will lead to the creation of ten spin-out companies, and as a consequence the creation of dozens of jobs.