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Applications open for second Accelerate@Babraham cohort


By Mike Scialom


Jonathan Milner with teams from the 2018 cohort of the Accelerate@Babraham programme at Babraham Research Campus. Picture: Keith Heppell
Jonathan Milner with teams from the 2018 cohort of the Accelerate@Babraham programme at Babraham Research Campus. Picture: Keith Heppell

Applications are now open for the second Accelerate@Babraham life-science start-up competition.

The initial event, which saw five companies pitch for a grant and use of Babraham Research Campus’ communal bio-incubator facilities between September and December 2018, proved a huge success.

“We were delighted with the achievements of the first Accelerate@Babraham group and continue to support them as they develop their ventures further,” said Karolina Zapadka, business acceleration manager for the programme. “Even though the 2018 programme is now complete, the networks and relationships developed, we hope, will have long-lasting benefits for the companies, UK Plc and help to improve human health through innovation. We remain on hand to help facilitate further introductions and connections where and when we can.”

Of particular value to successful applicants are Accelerate@Babraham’s bio-incubator facilities, which include communal equipped laboratory space, flexible workspace within the Babraham Research Campus’ stimulating and supportive environment, and access to its community hub which includes office, meeting and social spaces.

It was the interactions that proved most useful to 2018 participant SNPr.

“Before applying I thought the free lab space was the greatest benefit of the programme,” said Luba Chakalova, SNPr’s head of biology. “It quickly became obvious that in fact the real and long-lasting value was in the rewarding professional relationships we established and developed.”

Babraham Hall (7620196)
Babraham Hall (7620196)

Antiverse, who also made the 2018 final cut, had a positive experience as well.

“The Babraham Accelerator was a great experience for Antiverse,” said co-founder Rowina Westermeier. “We got introductions which were rigorously tailored to our needs at any point in time, had the opportunity to meet leaders in the field and be mentored by some of them. We strongly recommend applying to the Accelerator.”

Building on the success of the 2018 competition, the Accelerate@Babraham 2019 cohort will benefit from an enhanced programme – extended from three months to five – and starting in September. Successful ventures will be ‘on-boarded’ over the summer.

“We are excited to launch the 2019 competition and are inviting applications from early stage start-ups with a life science sector focus, including therapeutics, synthetic biology, life science tools and technologies, diagnostics or any transformative healthcare solutions,” adds Dr Zapadka. “Each venture must be a team of at least two members and be available to move to Cambridge for the entire acceleration programme, from September 2019 to February 2020.”

Regular faces at Babraham Research Campus include, from left, investor Andy Richards, life sciences venture capitalist Jonathan Milner and director Derek Jones. Picture: Keith Heppell
Regular faces at Babraham Research Campus include, from left, investor Andy Richards, life sciences venture capitalist Jonathan Milner and director Derek Jones. Picture: Keith Heppell

CEO of Babraham-based life sciences company PhoreMost, Chris Torrence, told the Cambridge Independent: “The quality of every start-up in the inaugural Accelerate class was truly phenomenal and to have so many candidates is a great reflection of the potential of the Cambridge area to rival the Boston Biotech start-up scene with a nurturing environment.”

Ventures wishing to apply to take part in Accelerate@Babraham’s 2019 start-up competition should complete the application form at babraham.com/accelerate-babraham by midnight on April 22.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified at the beginning of May and will pitch to a judging panel of business leaders, life science experts and investors on May 15.



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