Accelerate@Babraham,the Babraham Research Campus’ programme supporting early-stage life science ventures, announces new cohort

Babraham Research Campus Ltd, which is responsible for the development and management of the Babraham Research Campus is delighted to officially welcome six new ventures to Accelerate@Babraham 2023.

Chosen via a rigorous selection process which culminated in short-listed companies being interviewed by representatives of the Babraham Research Campus executive team and all the programme’s strategic partners, the six winning ventures are:

Aila Biotech – Co-Founders, James Dooley and Adrian Liston

Aila Biotech is developing a unique biologic therapy with promising pre-clinical efficacy in neuroinflammation that has been validated in multiple in vivo mouse models. Its platform is based on a unique, patented, biologic delivery system, enabling immune-modulating biologics to be produced at the site of brain inflammation mitigating cognitive loss. The platform creates a system where the production of biologic therapeutics that are under the control of a dose responsive small molecule switch that can be turned on and off as treatment indicates and diminishing any potential long-term off target effects.

Bugbiome – Founder, Alicia Showering

BugBiome is combating deadly vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue, which continue to cause over a billion infections each year. It harnesses the power of the skin microbiome to develop an effective, long-lasting mosquito repellent.

CytoCalx – Co-founders, Rachael Walker and Diane Proudfoot

CytoCalx is seeking to generate a biomarker to estimate risk and severity of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease.  The assay being developed aims  to accurately measure active tissue calcification levels in blood samples.

Gigabiome – Co-founders, Frederick Clasen, Saeed Shoaie and Rajiv Jalan

Gigabiome’s purpose is to develop novel, innovative strategies to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).Using genomic sequencing and artificial intelligence technologies, Gigabiome profiles resistance from a patient’s gut and oral microbiomes.   This personalised approach will enable clinicians to prescribe the appropriate antimicrobial at the correct time.

Matrix Bio – Founder, Chris Mosedale

Matrix Bio uses data analysis and deep learning to identify the optimal hydrogel compositions for specific cell-based applications and predict how they will behave in experimental conditions. This in turn streamlines the development and discovery process, helping create hydrogels that are more tailored to the specific needs of each application, saving significant time and expense.

Neurothread – Founder, Tim Chisholm

Neurothread’s vision is to diagnose Parkinson’s disease (PD) early and accurately. Its solution is an in vitro diagnostic based on a novel method of characterising new protein biomarkers that are characteristic of many neurodegenerative diseases.

Accelerate@Babraham supports the development of science concepts and the creation of new companies by providing a taught programme of roundtables and workshops with experts and practitioners, access to equipped communal laboratories, as well as guidance from mentors and introductions to investors.

Accelerate@Babraham 2023 is supported by strategic partners, AstraZeneca, Eisai, Biomed Realty, Kidney Research UK, Medicines Discovery Catapult, Triple Chasm and LifeArc. In addition, multiple other professional service companies commit to providing clinics and guidance to the cohort as part of the programme.

To complement the on-Campus programme the cohort gains 10-months free laboratory space to stress-test their science, plus £10,000 no strings attached non-dilutive funding to support their activities.

Kathryn Chapman, Director, Science & Entrepreneurship, Babraham Research Campus commented: “We were delighted with the calibre and quantity of Accelerate@Babraham applications this year, although it did make for an extremely difficult decision making process! Our 2023 cohort are a passionate group of new life science innovators and entrepreneurs, all of whom have the motivation to push themselves and their science as they engage throughout the programme.

“We’ve enjoyed getting to know them all over the last couple of weeks as we kicked off the 2023 programme with Bootcamp here on Campus – a fantastic opportunity for the cohort to come together, share experiences to date and begin meeting and learning from our network, partners and other experts, all of whom give their time freely to support these new ventures. The energy levels are high and it’s a real pleasure to be part of the journey of this latest cohort.”

Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures added: “Accelerate@Babraham is a fantastic initiative that helps researchers and entrepreneurs move ground-breaking science and ideas towards commercialisation through hands-on, practical support and guidance. As an organisation committed to encouraging and financing innovative, early-stage life science companies that can impact the lives of patients, LifeArc and LifeArc Ventures are proud to support the Babraham Research Campus and congratulate the inspirational ventures selected to be part of the 2023 programme.”

Shaun Grady, Senior Vice President, Business Development Operations AstraZeneca

said: “Accelerate@Babraham plays an important role in the vibrant Cambridge biotech ecosystem and it is great to see the breadth of new ideas and technologies that the entrepreneurs bring to the 2023 programme.”

Tim Schoen, CEO, BioMed Realty commented: “As a leading provider of mission-critical real estate to the life sciences and technology industries, we support the growth of all stages of companies. We are proud to be a strategic partner to the Accelerate@Babraham programme.

“The Babraham Research Campus plays an important role by contributing to the long-term health of the Cambridge UK life sciences ecosystem, including by supporting early-stage ventures. We are excited to be welcoming the next cohort to the Accelerate@Babraham programme. The companies selected show great potential to help tackle the major health challenges facing our global population in the coming decades.”

Katherine Forbes, Director Innovation and Enterprise, Kidney Research UK added: “Kidney Research UK is striving to drive innovation in the field of kidney disease and being a strategic partner of Accelerate@Babraham 2023 means that we’re able to support new innovations from the outset. This programme provides an amazing opportunity for new life science innovators to benefit from this unique programme of support and expertise and we look forward to seeing their innovations progress throughout the programme.”

The Accelerate@Babraham content programme is devised in collaboration with highly experienced individuals and organisations. The Babraham Research Campus is delighted to welcome Medicines Discovery Catapult and Triple Chasm Company to the 2023 programme with both organisations adding significant complementary expertise and content to the programme:

Dr Sally-Ann Emmas, Lead Scientist – External Drug Discovery Projects at Medicines Discovery Catapult said: “It was great to spend time with the 2023 cohort at the recent bootcamp, and it was inspiring to see such diverse innovations with the potential to have a significant impact on patient health. We look forward to working closely with these innovators over the next few months to identify opportunities for success, defining line of sight to the clinic and de-risking their discovery projects.”

Uday Phadke, CEO, Triple Chasm Company commented: “It’s been a pleasure beginning work with this year’s exciting cohort of early-stage innovators on the Accelerate@Babraham programme – helping them to develop well considered commercialisation strategies. So far, our data-driven framework has helped the cohort understand their target market space value chains and frame their propositions relative to it. We look forward to covering other strategic considerations in the rest of the programme.”

An integrated and integral part of the Cambridge ecosystem, the Babraham Research Campus is unique in its co-location of world-leading academic research at the Babraham Institute alongside 60+ biotech companies spanning start-up to scale-up. In addition, the first-class conference facilities available within the Cambridge Building – enabling interaction and connection – brings together a breadth of expertise not found elsewhere. These factors, in combination with the energy and pay-it-forward mindset of the researchers, entrepreneurs and CEOs based on Campus has created an ecosystem of know-how and altruism which makes it a fantastic place to create, build and grow a bioscience business.

Pictured- Accelerate@Babraham Cohort 2023 with Kathryn Chapman, Director Science & Entrepreneurship, Babraham Research Campus (standing far left).