Cambridge-based spin-offs get Bio-start funding

After an intensive 10-week competition across the UK, several Cambridge spin-offs have been awarded Bio-start funding, as well as the opportunity to join the UK’s first synthetic biology accelerator programme.

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The spin off companies will be entering an intensive and prestigous programme of high-quality mentorship, entrepreneurial training & workshops, with access to a global network of customers and opportunities. The programme will include access to an experienced group of mentors and sector specific experts to help them navigate the many challenges faced by early stage companies.

 Three Cambridge-based companies have been selected to join the accelerator programme, including Entomics and Colorifix which are both based in the Department of Plant Sciences, as well as Quethera, based at the Babraham Institute. 
  • Entomics have found an innovative way to combat food waste, by using Black Soldier Fly larvae convert food waste into fats and proteins inside their bodies. Through an innovative engineering system, Entomics are able to optimize both the productivity of black soldier fly larvae, and the synthesis of three high-value products downstream, such as Protein Meal, Bio-Oil and Organic Fertiliser
  • Colorifix is developing a revolutionary dyeing process to help the textile industry dramatically reduce its environmental impact in a cost effective manner using a synthetic biology based approach. By using genetically altered bacteria to fix dyes onto items of clothing, they have managed to create a potential source of enironmentally friendly colour dyes, which generate significantly less water use and pollution than conventional dyes.
  • Quethera is a gene therapy company dedicated to improving the future treatment of common blinding eye diseases. Their initial focus is on developing therapies to reduce progressive visual loss in glaucoma and other conditions affecting the optic nerve. Quethera is working alongside world leaders in the glaucoma field to design clinical trials capable of examining the efficacy and safety of novel therapies in patients who lose parts of their visual field at an accelerated rate (fast-progressors). The company has expertise in gene therapeutic design and development sufficient to progress its pipeline through preclinical testing and into clinical development.

The companies selected to take part in Bio-start reflect the unique diversity present in one of the most exciting and innovative startup sectors in the UK. All the companies are deploying engineering biology to deliver transformation across many different applications and sectors. The companies in the first Bio-start cohort also include startups from England, Scotland and Ireland and spinouts from Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Imperial College, Newcastle and Oxford Universities.

The 10 week programme will culminate in an award ceremony in London. The finalists from the programme will pitch in front of selected judges and invited audience. The companies with the best business model with be rewarded with equity free cash awards, professional services, and free- laboratory space at various locations across the U.K.

We are excited to welcome all the companies selected to Bio-start and look forward to keeping you updated on their progress.

For more information on the Bio-start competition, please click here.


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