Babraham BioConcepts announces key appointments


Babraham BioConcepts Limited, the early-stage life sciences investment company recently formed through a joint venture between Babraham BioScience Technologies Limited (BBT) and Avlar BioVentures Fund II LLP, announced two key appointments to its board: a Chairman and a Chief Executive.

Speaking at the Biotechnology Investment Forum at the Babraham Research Campus last week, Dr Andy Richards introduced BioConcepts' newly appointed Chief Executive, Dr Catherine Beech, and announced the appointment of Sir Brian Richards CBE as Non-Executive Chairman.

Commenting on the appointments, Catherine Beech said, 'I am looking forward to taking up this new challenge at the head of BioConcepts. This is a tremendous opportunity to exploit the innovative IP generated both on the Babraham Research Campus and more extensively within the greater Cambridge biotech community, and to create real value through the formation of successful biotech companies.

'I am delighted that Sir Brian has agreed to lead the Board. His vision, drive and experience for early stage biotech will be invaluable to the success of BioConcepts.'

Catherine Beech was a founder and Director of Life Sciences at the Cambridge Gateway Fund, a 35 million venture capital fund investing in early-stage life sciences and technology companies. Gateway recently announced a merger with Avlar, and Catherine retains responsibility for the management of Gateway's life science portfolio.

Catherine's previous experience included 13 years in multinational pharmaceutical companies, both in Europe and the USA, ultimately as European Medical Director at DuPont Pharmaceuticals. She has a broad range of expertise in drug discovery, drug development and clinical programmes, as well as considerable experience in commercialising life science technologies. Catherine is a director of Avlar BioVentures Limited and DanioLabs Limited, and sits on the DTI's Technology Strategy Board.

Sir Brian Richards has a wealth of experience in developing and building some of Europe's leading biotech companies. After 13 years of basic research at the Medical Research Council's Biophysics Research Unit at Kings College, London and 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, he co-founded British Biotechnology Ltd in 1986 and served as Executive Chairman until 1994. He subsequently held Non-Executive Chairmanships or Directorships in several biopharmaceutical companies including Peptide Therapeutics (later Acambis plc), Oxford Biomedica plc and CeNeS Ltd.

Currently Sir Brian chairs the Boards of Alizyme plc, Cozart plc, Lipoxen plc and MAN Mail (Guernsey) Ltd. Sir Brian was awarded a CBE in 1990 and a knighthood in 1997, both for services to the biotechnology industry.

About Babraham BioConcepts Ltd

Launched in June 2006 with the injection of 1 million investment from Avlar BioVentures Fund II LLP to fund nascent life sciences companies associated with the Babraham Research Campus, BioConcepts will work closely with entrepreneurs and scientists to create and nurture emerging companies from world-class science and technology deriving from the Babraham Institute or companies relocating to the campus.

It will provide seed and early round funding, inject specific expertise and provide access to services and facilities - thereby reducing cash-burn during the formative years - to enable companies to 'get off the ground'. This is a unique offering designed to lower the barriers to the formation of high quality early-stage companies.

BioConcepts has established a 10-year pipeline agreement with the Babraham Institute giving it the right to form companies around novel intellectual property created at the Institute. In addition, BioConcepts has acquired shareholdings in several early-stage life sciences companies (Actinomics, CTM Biotech, Innova Biosciences, MultiProSys and Probe Scientific) that are associated with or have been formed on the Babraham Research Campus.

Dr Andy Richards represents BBT on the board of BioConcepts, with Dr Dan Roach representing Avlar. Dr David Hardman, CEO of BBT, also acts as Adviser to the company.

About Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd is the wholly-owned subsidiary and trading arm of the Babraham Institute. Coalescing scientific, technological and commercial excellence, BBT delivers the Knowledge Transfer remit of the Institute through the wider landscape of the Babraham Research Campus, catalysing opportunities for enterprise across the academic and commercial divide.

BBT brings together all the elements to support innovation and enable the successful exploitation of research in the biomedical sector based on technologies emanating from the Babraham Institute and bioventures relocating to the Babraham Research Campus.

BBT has taken a prominent role regionally in initiating and leading partnerships to promote knowledge and skills flow and has established a reputation for successfully translating innovative science into viable business opportunities through partnerships for wealth creation.

This is stimulating inward investment to the campus and contributing to regional development. BBT's activities support wider investment in the life sciences to generate and sustain growth of the region's healthcare economy. For more information visit

The Babraham Institute

The Babraham Institute is an independent charitable organisation, sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, carrying out world-leading innovative research and advanced training with relevance to the biomedical, biotechnological, pharmaceutical and healthcare research and user communities. Research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of cell signalling and gene regulation, which underlie normal cellular processes and functions, and on how their failure or abnormality may lead to disease. As such, Institute scientists are striving to find cures for conditions where there is currently no treatment or where the existing treatment is not fully effective or causes serious side effects.

The latest technologies are being used to study the basis of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, foetal abnormality and cancer. The commercialisation of the Institute's research is managed by its trading subsidiary, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd. The Babraham Research Campus is located six miles south-east of Cambridge. For more information visit

About Avlar BioVentures

Avlar is a specialist biotechnology venture capital company which currently has over ?150 million under management in Avlar BioVentures Fund I, Avlar BioVentures Fund II and the First Cambridge Gateway Fund. The funds are focused on seed and early-stage investments and are used to invest in biopharmaceutical, small molecule drug discovery, epigenetics, medtech and related biotechnology opportunities, and some technology ventures.

Avlar's approach to investment is very much 'hands on', working intensively with companies in the critical stages of development from pre-formation to second round of financing, applying its strategic, entrepreneurial and biotech industry skills.



Catherine Beech, Chief Executive, Babraham BioConcepts Limited

Telephone: 01223 496060 Email:

To read more information, click here.

The Institute is an independent charitable life sciences research institute, strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Babraham Institute