LifeArc ‘Accelerate@Babraham Award’ will give one early-stage life science venture additional cash boost

Cambridge 06 January 2020: Sponsors of the Babraham Research Campus Accelerate@Babraham initiative, LifeArc, has announced the extension of its support, by releasing an additional £10,000 in the form of an award for the most progressed venture currently participating in the StartUPCompetition@Babraham 2019/20 programme.  

Introduced by the Babraham Research Campus in 2018, the Accelerate@Babraham initiative is designed to support ambitious early stage life science ventures within the active Babraham Research Campus community. It does this by giving access to appropriate short-term open access laboratory and office space, facilitating interaction with the academic community at the Babraham Institute and wider campus community, and by providing access to the Campus’ global network, including mentoring and business support.

As part of this wider initiative the StartUPCompetition@Babraham specifically supports ideas and/or companies that are pre-seed to seed stage (below £500k investment). Each year, via a rigorous application and selection process, five early stage life sciences enterprises are selected to take part in a 5-month bio-entrepreneurial programme. In addition, the ventures also receive £10k non-diluted funding and free lab and office space.  

LifeArc, which committed its support to the Accelerate@Babraham initiative earlier this year, has decided to make this additional award available having been so impressed by the standard of the programme to date.

LifeArc’s focus is on translation; helping to turn promising science into benefits for patients by advancing medical research towards patient treatments and diagnostics.  The winning venture will have to satisfy a number of criteria to evidence the translation of its idea during the course of the programme; progressing its science along a validated commercial continuum. The criteria includes:

  • Addressing a valuable patient need and showing clear evidence of progress in terms of reduction to practice and/or process along the lines that the market wants.
  • Developing a strategy around the structuring of staff and facilities, be they virtual or otherwise, to create the optimal mix to address the expressed patient need.
  • Traction with commercial partners or investors. Evidence of market interest, not necessarily a deal.
  • Prosecuting a market led IP strategy.


David Holbrook, Head of Seed Funds, LifeArc said: “Our focus is to bridge the gap on the journey of translating innovation, incubating small start-ups to a point where they could attract venture funding to further progress their innovations, which is a superb fit with the objectives of the Babraham Research Campus and more specifically the Accelerate@Babraham initiative.  Having committed support to the initiative earlier this year, we have been incredibly impressed with the depth of the start-up programme and the progress the five young ventures are making. In recognition of how challenging it can be for promising start-up ventures to access funding we have created this award to celebrate the achievements of the venture we feel has made the most progress across the duration of the programme. We are looking forward to spending more time with them all as the programme continues and wish them all the best of luck in securing the LifeArc award!”

Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Bioscience Technologies, which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus added: “Participation in the Accelerate@Babraham initiative gives our start-up ventures proactive exposure to exceptionally experienced and talented mentors and advisors, as well as potential investors and pharma partners, enhancing their opportunity to gain investment. Our extensive Campus network enables us to connect our young ventures with people they might otherwise not have had an opportunity to get in front of; that’s a massive point of difference for us. Our aim is to help create new jobs, technology and therapies which have a transformational effective on the health of future generations, in addition to maximising the impact of the Cambridge life science cluster and life science in the UK as a whole. We share this objective with our strategic sponsors, like LifeArc, and we couldn’t provide the programme we currently do without them. The LifeArc award is a very generous additional gesture and one that will make a significant difference to the winning venture.”

The LifeArc award for the ‘most progressed’ venture of the 2019/20 StartUPCompetition@Babraham will be announced at the conclusion of the programme in February this year.

To discover more about Accelerate@Babraham please visit

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Sarah Brereton