Cambridge duo share £100k haul to ‘Accelerate’ growth

Two companies each from Cambridge and London and one from Cardiff shared £100k and a raft of bolt-on benefits after winning the inaugural Accelerate@Babraham Startup Competition.

Qkine Ltd and Kalium Diagnostics from Cambridge, London twosome VisusNano Ltd and Oppilotech Ltd and Antiverse Ltd from Wales each won £20k, mentorship benefits and access to the accelerators five-star facilities for disruptive biotechnology businesses.They went head to head with three other companies.

The competition attracted a rich variety of high calibre applications, all of which were reviewed by a panel of senior academics, investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. 

After this challenging selection process, eight companies made it through to the second stage where they pitched to the competition panel and faced a quick-fire Q & A.  

The panel consisted of John Trainer, VP and Head, Partnering and Strategy at MedImmune, Jo Parfrey, Non-exec Director of Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd, David Grainger, Partner at Medicxi, Tony Kouzarides, Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Cambridge and Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd.

Derek Jones said: “It is extremely challenging to communicate a business idea, cutting-edge science, and quantify the potential and convince a panel of judges that your proposition is better than the competition, whatever the situation. 

“However, all eight finalists did incredibly well, and we were so impressed with all the pitches that we hope to be able to offer mentoring support and useful introductions to the runners up too.

“To those that made it through – we are delighted to welcome you to Accelerate@Babraham and look forward to working with you from September!”

John Trainer for MedImmune added: “It was a real pleasure to be part of this process. The eight finalists presented their ventures with professionalism, enthusiasm and a high level of competency, which was very impressive, but made our decision-making very challenging.

“Becoming part of the Babraham Research Campus community via the Accelerate@Babraham programme offers the chosen five ventures an exciting opportunity to join an environment that has an exceptional reputation for nurturing and supporting new life science concepts and companies. I wish them all well and look forward to seeing how they progress.”

RxCelerate is one of Accelerate@Babraham’s five strategic partners along with AstraZeneca, MedImmune, One Nucleus and Eli Lilly.

This inaugural competition supports the overall objectives of Accelerate@Babraham - to support the development of new science concepts and the creation of new companies. 

It is also complementary of the Babraham Research Campus’ ongoing support of the Cambridge life science cluster, through the provision of access to the campus community and infrastructure without the need to be an established occupier on site.