Limerick software company Kneat has secured a €5.5m investment from Canadian firm Fortune Bay, which it plans to use for expansion, in the course of which it will hire 30 new staff.

Kneat provides software to companies in the life sciences and healthcare sectors and other industries, which are heavily regulated and require extensive retention and management of documents.

Recruitment is under way for the new roles, which will include experienced software developers, testers, pharmaceutical process specialists and business development managers.

The investment will create a new software company listed on the stock market in Canada.

The deal, which is part of a five-year growth strategy, will facilitate increased access to finance and entry into new and lucrative international markets for Kneat’s software solutions.

Kneat says the deal is expected to attract future investment as the company looks to fast-track its growth in new international markets.

The firm is headquartered in Limerick but has an office in Philadelphia and its client base consists of leading global biotech and pharmaceutical companies across the EU and US.

Kneat currently employs 30 people between its Limerick and Philadelphia offices.

Commenting on the deal, Kneat CEO Eddie Ryan said: “We are excited to take this important step in capturing the rapidly growing market for compliance related document and data management software for regulated industries.

Kneat shareholders will own 68.7% of the new entity and the current Fortune Bay shareholders will own the remaining 31.3%.

The new company will retain the Kneat name and Eddie Ryan will remain as CEO.

The company says its key operations will remain in Ireland with an increasing sales and support capability in the US.