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Start Codon debuts its first life sciences accelerator cohort

Work on the science parks and campus in the Cambridge hub is continuing apace
Work on the science parks and campus in the Cambridge hub is continuing apace

Start Codon has debuted its first cohort – four life science and healthcare companies enrolled into the company’s new-model life science and healthcare business accelerator programme in February.

The four are:

 1. Enhanc3D Genomics, a functional genomics spin-out of the Babraham Institute whose platform technology links non-coding sequence variants to their target genes in order to identify novel therapeutic targets.

 2. Drishti Discoveries, a start-up leveraging a proprietary gene silencing technology to develop therapies for rare inherited diseases.

 3. Spirea, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge, which is developing the next generation of antibody drug conjugate cancer therapeutics which carry more drug payload to tumour cells, resulting in greater efficacy, tolerability and the ability to treat more cancer patients.

 4. Semarion, a University of Cambridge spin-out which is revolutionising cell-based assays for drug discovery and life science through its proprietary SemaCyte microcarrier platform, which leverages novel materials physics for assay miniaturisation, multiplexing, and automation.

Daniel Rooke, co-founder and head of operations and legal at Start Codon, said: “We are extremely proud to present the first group of companies from the Start Codon programme.

“Having provided the mentoring, coaching and infrastructure to fast-track their commercial development, it is incredibly exciting to see how the technologies and teams have progressed.”

The quartet debuted today (June 26) at the Milner Therapeutics Symposium Building Collaborations to Transform Therapies event and during the annual OnHelix conference organised by One Nucleus on July 14. The presentations will see the companies unveiled to audiences of investors and senior pharma execs.

Dr Jason Mellad, Start Codon co-founder and CEO, said: “We are providing life science and healthcare companies with a unique combination of funding, facilities and mentoring to support their development and success. It is exciting to be working closely with these four exciting start-up companies, helping them to successfully commercialise their novel ideas and discoveries.”

In February, Start Codon joined Cancer Research UK’s Entrepreneurial Programmes Initiative, which promotes the development of new business ventures within academia and encourages entrepreneurship.

The organisation plans to invest in and support up to 50 start-up companies over the next five years.

The accelerator is now accepting applications for its second and third cohorts of early stage start-up companies in the life sciences and healthcare space.

Successful applicants receive seed funding, intensive coaching, and access to best-practice facilities, including:

 Six months of training and close support

Regular meetings with the experienced management team, mentors, and VCs to develop a robust business plan, polish their pitch and prime for a series A fundraise

 Potential to receive favourable rates and/or pro bono support from a broad range of commercial service providers including CROs, legal and accountancy firms, insurance brokers and banks

 Access to office and lab space.

Jason Mellad, co-founder and CEO, Start Codon
Jason Mellad, co-founder and CEO, Start Codon

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