Accelerate@Babraham Start-up Competition: winners announced


Five science start-ups have been awarded £20k and access to the Babraham Research Campus bio-incubator facilities, Accelerate@Babraham

The search for the next tranche of innovative, exciting and potentially disruptive life science start-ups, who will further the development of their ventures at the Babraham Research Campus is complete. On Wednesday 11th July, eight finalists presented to a packed lecture theatre of members of the Babraham Research Campus community, ON Helix delegates, supporters and an expert judging panel, for the chance to win access to Accelerate@Babraham’s bio-incubator facilities, plus a raft of additional benefits.

Of the eight, five start-ups were chosen as the overall winners. The successful ventures are:

  • Antiverse Ltd: Accelerated drug discovery. 1 day return instead of the industry standard of 3-18 months. In addition to speed Antiverse differentiates itself from the competition by superior scale, consistent quality, difficult- target binding, and an animal-free process.
  • Kalium Diagnostics: Kalium Diagnostics is developing the world’s first blood potassium test for home and bedside use. This test has the potential to improve the safety, health and lifestyle of over 2 million people who have renal disorders causing hypokalemia or hyperkalemia, including dialysis patients and those with particular rare diseases.
  • Oppilotech Ltd: Oppilotech are taking a systems biology approach to build one of the most detailed computational network models of the outer envelope of Gram-negative bacteria that has ever been assembled. The model is being utilised to develop first-in-class antibacterial drugs that will address the looming antibiotic resistance crisis.
  • Qkine Ltd: Qkine manufacturers high quality growth factors and cytokines. Spun-out from Cambridge University, the company has a strong foundation of know-how and licensed technology and plans to develop this portfolio through in-house R&D and in-licensing.
  • VisusNano Ltd: VisusNano have developed drug-releasing lens implants for use in cataract surgery, providing sustained, controlled release of drugs within the eye, without compromising the optical properties of the lens implant.

The winning ventures secure access to Accelerate@Babraham’s bio-incubator facilities, including use of communal equipped laboratory space, flexible workspace within the campus’ stimulating and supportive environment and access to its community hub, which includes office, meeting and social spaces. In addition, each also receives:

  • £20K non-dilutive funding.
  • 1-2-1 mentoring from world-class scientific, technical and business experts.
  • Access to the Babraham Research Campus’ highly experienced life science, healthcare, business and investor networks.
  • Access to Accelerate@Babraham’s top quality programme, which will run from September to December this year and includes bespoke training sessions and a final Demo Day – all run by practitioners’ expert in life science and bio-innovation.

The competition attracted a rich variety of high calibre applications, all of which were reviewed by a panel of senior academics, investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. After this challenging selection process, eight companies made it through to the second stage where they pitched to the competition panel and faced a quick-fire Q & A. The panel consisted of John Trainer, VP and Head, Partnering and Strategy at MedImmune, Jo Parfrey, Non-exec Director of Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd, David Grainger, Partner at Medicxi, Tony Kouzarides, Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Cambridge and Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd.

Derek Jones, CEO, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd said: “It is extremely challenging to communicate a business idea, cutting-edge science, and quantify the potential and convince a panel of judges that your proposition is better than the competition, whatever the situation. However, all eight finalists did incredibly well, and we were so impressed with all the pitches that we hope to be able to offer mentoring support and useful introductions to the runners up too.

“To those that made it through – we are delighted to welcome you to Accelerate@Babraham and look forward to working with you from September!”

John Trainer, VP and Head of Partnering and Strategy, MedImmune commented: “It was a real pleasure to be part of this process. The eight finalists presented their ventures with professionalism, enthusiasm and a high level of competency, which was very impressive, but made our decision-making very challenging.

“Becoming part of the Babraham Research Campus community via the Accelerate@Babraham programme offers the chosen five ventures an exciting opportunity to join an environment that has an exceptional reputation for nurturing and supporting new life science concepts and companies. I wish them all well and look forward to seeing how they progress.”

Jill Reckless, CEO, RxCelerate, which is one of Accelerate@Babraham’s five strategic partners along with AstraZeneca, MedImmune, One Nucleus and Eli Lilly commented: “RxCelerate is proud to support Accelerate@Babraham, which provides valuable resources to the early stage life science ecosystem. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to working with you all as you continue to develop your innovative technologies.”

This inaugural competition supports the overall objectives of Accelerate@Babraham - to support the development of new science concepts and the creation of new companies. It is also complementary of the Babraham Research Campus’ ongoing support of the Cambridge life science cluster, through the provision of access to the campus community and infrastructure without the need to be an established occupier on site.

To discover more about Accelerate@Babraham please visit




Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) is responsible for the commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus. The Babraham Research Campus is distinct in its co-location of bioscience companies with the Babraham Institute, a world-renowned research organisation. The Campus provides companies laboratory and office space together with access to outstanding scientific facilities in an ideal geographical location at the core of the Cambridge cluster.

Babraham Research Campus Ltd.