Cambridge 26th November 2020: The Babraham Research Campus’ third cohort of Accelerate@Babraham life science start-ups - ArkVax, Paediatric HealthTech, ConcR and Stroma Biosciences - went head-to-head on Wednesday afternoon (Nov 25th); competing for £10,000 additional funding generously donated by CMS Ventures in the Accelerate@Babraham with AstraZeneca: Start-up Pitching Competition.
The pitching competition formed part of AstraZeneca’s annual ‘Cambridge Exchange’ event, during which EVP of Biopharmaceutical R&D Sir Mene Pangalos and key figures from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford discussed the collaborative efforts undertaken to tackle COVID-19 and the science-led approaches to developing testing and treatment for the disease. The event specifically highlighted the role that collaboration, and the Cambridge life science cluster, have played in orchestrating the UK and global response to the pandemic.
Facilitated by Hitesh Sanganee, AstraZeneca’s Head of Emerging Innovations, each Accelerate@Babraham cohort company had just three minutes to pitch their technology, set out critical next steps and communicate their investment aspirations in order to convince the listening audience that their venture was most deserving of the additional cash injection.
Having heard ArkVax, Paediatric HealthTech, ConcR and Stroma Biosciences present, the audience cast their votes and the winner – Paediatric HealthTech - was announced by Shaun Grady, SVP Business Development Operations, AstraZeneca.
Paediatric HealthTech aims to positively change the development, learning and life chances of children with hearing loss. CEO, Tamsin Holland-Brown commented: “This is a pivotal amount of money that will allow the next step of the project – to complete the medical device CE marking and start using the Hear Glue Ear product set in a clinical pathway - to move forward. This feels like a very significant step towards changing the outcome of children with deafness secondary to glue ear. It is fantastic to have been able to continue to move the project forward during Covid, when grommet operations are not available (due to surgery prioritisation categories that had to be introduced) and children have little support.
“It has been inspiring to be working alongside colleagues who are part of the Accelerate@Babraham cohort this year, who are doing so much to advance the science of vaccines and technology available to treat cancer. I look forward to updating CMS ventures on the impact the prize has on the project. Thank you to Accelerate@Babraham for continuing to provide guidance and opportunities for us all and thank you to AstraZeneca for the chance to speak at such an inspiring event.”
Shaun Grady said: “AstraZeneca is committed to contributing to the development of the life science industry in Cambridge and beyond. We were delighted to join forces with the Babraham Research Campus and CMS Ventures to provide an opportunity for these new start-ups to hone their pitching skills and further develop their great ideas. The quality of the shortlisted teams was impressive and my colleagues and I look forward to mentoring the winning team.”
CMS Ventures is an early-stage investor based in Cambridge investing in biotech & life sciences start-ups in the UK. Launched in 2020, it is the investment arm of China Medical Systems Holdings Limited (CMS), a well-established, innovation-driven speciality pharmaceutical company founded in 1995 and listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (stock code: 867).
Hanadi Jabado, Managing Director, CMS Ventures added: “CMS Ventures recognises the vibrancy and vitality of the UK biotech and life sciences ecosystem. We have an ambition to work closely with centres of excellence, such as Accelerate@Babraham, to support and nurture early stage innovation across the UK. The four shortlisted teams form a great display of diversity in talent, sectors and stages of development and we hope that Paediatric HealthTech will benefit from the mentored nurturing cash prize to get to the next stage of their start-up journey. ”
The Accelerate@Babraham programme is designed to support the creation of start-up life science concepts by providing access to the facilities and capabilities at the Babraham Research Campus; mentoring; and support with business development and fund raising. In addition to AstraZeneca, the programme is supported by strategic partners Eisai, LifeArc and Mundipharma. Various other professional service companies also commit to providing clinics and guidance to these early-stage companies as they develop their science, expand their business knowledge and gain exposure to both the Babraham Research Campus and wider Cambridge Cluster network of investors and supporters during the five-month programme.
Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
Tel: 01223 813 560