Taoiseach Micheál Martin has presented the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) St Patrick's Day Science Medal to John and Patrick Collison, the founders of payment company Stripe, which is now valued at $95 billion.

The SFI award was also presented to Professor Donald McDonnell, Associate Director for Translational Research for the Duke Cancer Institute and Glaxo-Wellcome Professor of Molecular Cancer Biology at Duke University, School of Medicine in North Carolina.

He was honoured for his work in the development of new treatments for breast and prostate cancers.

Mr Martin is in Washington DC to mark the occasion of St Patrick's Day and US-Ireland relations.

The Taoiseach said the country is deeply proud of the three men's "inspirational achievements" and the societal and economic impacts they have made on the global stage.

"This prestigious prize recognises the critical importance of US-Ireland relations, particularly in the areas of research, development and innovation," Mr Martin said.

"Through these enduring transatlantic links, we are creating new opportunities and furthering knowledge with the potential to address societal needs and economic challenges, as well as nurturing future talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths," he added.

As teenagers, John and Patrick Collison founded, built and sold their first company, Auctomatic, for $5m.

In 2009, they wrote the first lines of code for Stripe which is now a financial infrastructure platform for businesses.

Millions of companies now use Stripe to accept payments, grow their revenue and accelerate new business opportunities.

Headquartered in San Francisco and Dublin, the company currently employs over 500 people at its Dublin office and plans to hire over 1,000 more people in Ireland in the coming years.

Stripe President John Collison said that he and his brother were honoured to accept the SFI award.

"With all the talent and ambition in Ireland, we're convinced that many more young people will pursue a career in technology, and we can't wait to see what problems they will solve," he said.

"We will continue to do our bit, including through our partnership with the University of Limerick. The overwhelmingly positive response to the Immersive Software Engineering course has proved that we have a long runway ahead of us in terms of the investments we will continue to make in science, in technology and in Ireland's potential," he added.

Professor Donald McDonnell is one of the world’s leading experts in the treatment of cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, that respond to hormones.

His work has led to the discovery of several drugs that are currently being evaluated in the clinic and to the identification of tumour markers to personalise and target treatment.

Prof McDonnell said that having worked between industry and academia, he is keenly aware of the important role of mentorship and the opportunities for learning on both sides that it presents.

"Similarly, through our US-Ireland partnerships, I believe we can capitalise on shared insights and collaborate beyond borders to deliver truly excellent science with global benefits," he added.