Initial shortlist unveiled for 'Business Weekly' Awards

The addition of two particular categories has helped produce a brilliant initial shortlist for the Business Weekly Awards. The DeepTech/AI and Quoted Company of the Year categories have injected an extra pizzazz to the process.

Business Weekly awards

Tony Quested writes:

The former is especially important to the process. Not only are AI and DeepTech generally a particular strongpoint for Cambridge on the global stage but also many of our front runners here are young but exceptionally well funded startups.

As such they have a long runway for sustainable growth. Investors in at the outset are likely to enjoy a comfortably prolonged and fruitful ride.

Our quoted category reflects a renewed appetite for IPO in the UK, Europe and US. Companies are raising larger amounts of growth capital as listed businesses and we are seeing this across hi-tech, the life sciences and general industry.

Companies have entered different categories based on what they consider to be their strengths but closer examination almost unfailingly identifies that they have a strong case in other segments of the awards.

For example, entrants to the Life Science Innovation category are usually succeeding to differing degrees on an international stage; they will often deploy qualities endemic in other sectors that are being honoured – for example bleeding edge engineering or exceptionally disruptive technology.

For this reason judges will usually take a wider view of a business and its capabilities. Several candidates are being considered for multiple accolades.

This holistic approach ensures that the Business Weekly Awards honour the very best companies based on judges’ years of experience in investing in startups and achieving successful exits.

The initial shortlist holds up a mirror to the current power of the cluster, for example in freshly recognised strong suits such as synthetic biology, animal healthcare, CleanTech – and, notably, quantum computing.

As ever, there is also a core cohort of companies based on brilliant engineering spanning areas as diverse as aviation and space exploration.

Top law firm Mills & Reeve, which is lead forensic sponsor of the Awards, has begun interviewing representatives of companies on the initial shortlist.

They have put top operators on the case, led by Nick Finlayson-Brown and Kevin Calder. Life science ace James Fry and corporate law stars Zickie Lim, Anthony McGurk and Stephen Hamilton will also play a major role in this initial element of the judging process.

Mills & Reeve will produce comprehensive reports for selected entrepreneur judges; these reports are produced on a totally private & confidential basis so candidates feel free to share their successes and visions of the future with complete confidence.

We will then monitor the progress of candidates over the summer – hopefully covering the dawn of a new era as the UK emerges from Covid lockdown. No final decisions will be announced until the night of the bounceback banquet at Queens’ College Cambridge on September 7.

Business Weekly Awards Initial Shortlist

Avacta’s therapeutics division, based in Cambridge, develops novel cancer immunotherapies combining its two proprietary platforms – Affimer® biotherapeutics and pre|CISIONTM tumour targeted chemotherapy. With this approach, the company aims to address the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients.

Cambridge GaN Devices
CGD has been created to explore and develop a number of unique opportunities in power electronics made possible by the team’s proprietary application of Gallium Nitride to the silicon-based semiconductor transistor manufacturing process. With silicon transistors widely acknowledged as having attained maximum efficiency, CGD’s power design engineers have developed a range of Gallium Nitride transistors that are over 100 times faster, lose 5 – 10 times less power and are 4 times smaller than existing silicon equivalents.

Cambridge Quantum Computing
CQC is a world leading independent quantum computing software company with operations in the US, Europe & Japan and more than 60 scientists including 35+ PHD’s, in Quantum Computing, Chemistry, Molecular Electronics, Physics, Maths, Computer Science, and Nanoscience. CQC builds tools for the commercialisation of quantum technologies whose long-term impact will be profound.

CN Bio Innovations
CN Bio is a leading bioengineering company specialising in single and multi-organ microphysiological systems and innovative lab technologies. It aims to provide systems that generate clinically translatable data that can enhance the development of tomorrow’s medicines.

Cyted focuses on providing digital diagnostic infrastructure to drive the earlier detection of disease. Its technologies use artificial intelligence and novel biomarkers to unlock clinical insight and improve patient outcomes.

Domino Printing UK
A multi Queen’s Awards winner and twice our Business of the Year, Domino has established a global reputation for the development and manufacture of coding, marking and printing technologies, as well as its worldwide aftermarket products and customer service. It employs more than 2,800 people and operates in over 120 countries. 

Life science companies have greatly increased their investments in the development of a wide variety of natural biologics and chemically-modified biologics. But many struggle with how to track the processes, experiments, entities and huge volumes of data being produced, often using ad-hoc process that capture data on fileshares and in spreadsheets. The Dotmatics informatics solution for biologics discovery addresses these issues.

Eagle Genomics
Eagle Genomics innovates at the intersection of biology, data sciences and bioinformatics to develop enterprise platform solutions for the microbiomics and genomics era. Over the last decade, it has collaborated with a range of blue-chip clients in the healthcare, personal care and agritech sectors, enabling them to deliver game changing products and technologies into their respective markets.

The company is reimagining biology by developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis – a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesise DNA at unprecedented accuracy, scale and speed. The platform will place DNA synthesis in the hands of every researcher and change how DNA is accessed, made and used – a new paradigm for gene synthesis.

Horizon Discovery
Horizon Discovery drives the application of gene editing and gene modulation within the global life science market – supporting scientists on the path from research to therapy. Built on more than a decade of experience in the engineering of cell lines, the company offers an unmatched portfolio of tools and services. In November 2020, the company was acquired by Wall Street quoted PerkinElmer for $383m.

IQGeo’s end-to-end geospatial software improves productivity and collaboration across enterprise planning, design, construction, maintenance and sales processes for telecoms and utility network operators. The AIM-quoted company’s mobile-first enterprise solutions create and maintain, an accurate view of complex network assets that is easily accessible by anyone, wherever and whenever needed. 

Luminance is the leading AI platform for the legal profession. The fundamental technology behind Luminance is the Legal Inference Transformation Engine, built from a blend of unsupervised and supervised machine learning and pattern recognition techniques developed at the University of Cambridge. Luminance has over 300 customers across the world including one-fifth of the global 100 law firms all of the Big Four Accountancy firms.

Marshall Motor Holdings
The AIM-quoted group is the 7th largest motor dealer group in the UK. Since 2008, 161 franchises have been added and 42 non-core or loss making operations have left the portfolio. The group’s franchise dealerships represent 22 different brand partners in 28 different counties across England. The strategy is for continuing growth in its retail business organically and through acquisitions.

Medovate is a dynamic medical device company dedicated to manufacturing innovative new medical devices and bringing them to market to help improve patient care. It works closely with NHS clinicians and professionals to take their innovative ideas for new medical devices through the full development cycle including manufacturing, regulatory compliance and market launch.

Nu Quantum
Nu Quantum spun out from Cambridge University to commercialise research generated over the last decade at the Cavendish Laboratory. The company makes quantum devices which can emit and detect single-photons. Its devices underpin those quantum systems which make single photons carry quantum information or interact in sophisticated ways, to arrive at a new era of communications, simulation, computing, sensing and metrology.

Optibrium continues to develop new products and research novel technologies to improve the efficiency and productivity of drug discovery. The company works closely with a broad range of customers and collaborators that include leading global pharma, agrochemical and flavouring companies, biotechs and academic groups.

Owlstone Medical
Owlstone Medical has developed a breathalyser for disease. The company focuses on non-invasive diagnostics for cancer, inflammatory diseases and other conditions. Its stated mission is to save 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs by advancing early detection and delivering precision medicine.
The number of people having surgery is growing. So is the complexity of operations. One in five patients experience post-surgical complications. prides itself in approaching peri-operative care in a holistic manner and is reducing the friction for patients to obtain better post-op outcomes. 

PetMedix is taking the experience of its founding team and decades of human clinical research, to build platforms that can develop fully species-specific, naturally-generated therapeutic antibodies. It will use these platforms to develop its own veterinary medicines to target some of the most important underserved clinical areas, which not only would have critical healthcare impact but also represent excellent market opportunities.

PhoreMost has developed a next-generation phenotypic screening platform called SITESEEKER® that can discern the best new targets for future therapy and crucially, how to drug them. This has the potential to significantly increase the diversity of novel therapeutics for cancer and other unmet diseases. SITESEEKER systematically unmasks cryptic druggable sites across the entire human genome and directly links them to useful therapeutic functions in a live-cell context.

Cambridge University spin-out Porotech is commercialising a porous GaN material platform technology and device solutions in conjunction with its partner and foundry network and offers an entirely new platform for semiconductor devices to be built upon, such as micro-LEDs, lasers, power electronics, quantum computing and communication.

Founded by FinTech entrepreneur Goncalo de Vasconcelos, Rnwl promises to revolutionise the process of identifying the best, most cost-efficient and reputable insurance when renewal time arrives. It has earned major investment in crowdfunding rounds and early backers include some of Cambridge’s best-known investors – Simon Thorpe, chairman of Cambridge Angels, Google’s William Russell and serial life science entrepreneurs Jonathan Milner and Sunil Shah.

Sano Genetics
Sano connects people with research in personalised medicine. It provides access to free genome sequencing and analysis for research participants who own their data and have full control over how it is used. The Sano Genetics platform is powering research into many common disorders such as eczema, diabetes and depression, as well as rare diseases like muscular dystrophy.

SATAVIA applies AI, data analytics and atmospheric science to make aviation smarter and greener. Combining deep connections in the aviation ecosystem with an agile start-up culture, SATAVIA is able to scale quickly and adapt to new opportunities and partnerships. It works with leading players ranging from Microsoft to Airbus.

Shearline Precision Engineering
From a world-class facility in Ely, Shearline provides bespoke manufacturing for technology-based companies. Shearline projects cover anything from intricate scientific equipment and industrial ink-jet printers to aerospace assemblies and remote weapon controls for the defence industry.

Sorex Sensors
Based on technology invented at the University of Cambridge, Sorex Sensors’ micromechanical sensor can detect material down to the femtogram level – a trillionth of a gram. It launched its first product based on its breakthrough film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) technology: It consists of a particulate sensor along with an accompanying development kit and is designed for use in devices for monitoring indoor air quality.

Start Codon
The Cambridge healthcare accelerator focuses on supporting highly disruptive, translational innovations created by exceptional teams from across the globe. Its vision is to disrupt monocultures and stagnation.It only accept a small number of exceptional applicants onto its program and then provides seed funding, intensive coaching and access to state-of-the-art facilities.
The business was born out of the frustration felt by the founders during their time working in investment funds and healthcare companies where they faced challenges in identifying who the real world-leading experts were in niche but rapidly evolving fields. Teaming up with computer scientists, they began applying AI and machine learning to redefine the way knowledge and expertise is identified and accessed globally.

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