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27 November, 2017 - 12:12 By Kate Sweeney

Lifebit and co-founder hoping to perform ‘high fives’ in all-out Awards assault

Maria Chatzou Lifebit

A Cambridge startup that has developed what it calls “the world’s first intelligent genomics platform; accelerating genomic innovation,” and its enterprising founder and CEO are tilting at five categories of the Business Weekly Awards.

Barcelona-born Lifebit is on a fast track to success from its Cambridge base in Station Road, Gt Shelford and has registered its UK business here. Cambridge and its world-class science & technology cluster is a far cry from a far from stable environment in Lifebit’s native Catalonia but co-founder and CEO Maria Chatzou says the company’s class and potential are a constant.

Maria has personally entered the Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Cambridge Enterprise Academic Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Lifebit has thrown its hat into the ring for three corporate awards – Startup of the Year; Engineering Excellence and Life Science Innovation, this latter segment sponsored by AstraZeneca and its biologics division MedImmune.

Lifebit is a Techstars-backed biotechnolgy startup that enables companies to do DNA data analysis at scale. 

During their PhDs, Maria and her co-founder Pablo Prieto worked on developing a new open-source framework solution, now used by half of the world’s organisations doing DNA analysis.

“However, companies still need to build custom software and hardware on top of it,” she says.

“So now we have created Lifebit, the world’s first intelligent genomics platform that understands DNA data and generates meaningful insights, like humans do.

“This makes DNA analysis 30x faster than currently possible and drops the analysis costs by up to 90 per cent, allowing our clients to develop better therapeutics and drugs faster.”

Chatzou says that currently more than 100 major companies and research institutions worldwide and four of the world’s top 10 Big Pharma enterprises – including Roche, Genentech and Unilver – are using the open source language that Lifebit is now building upon.

The founders decided that Cambridge was “the best place in the world for us to be based.”

Prieto says: “Cambridge will increasingly become a leading world centre for our kind of business and our kind of people.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Lifebit co-founder and CEO Maria Chatzou

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