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4 November, 2016 - 13:02 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge summit on how biotech entrepreneurs can thrive in turbulent times

biobeat, healthcare, cambridge

With university life science research threatened post-Brexit referendum, how do spin-outs with bright ideas capable of making a big difference on healthcare challenges such as cancer and diabetes establish themselves?The question will be debated at a timely Cambridge summit in November.

The fourth annual BioBeat conference – at St Catharine’s College on November 16 – features female leaders in the biotech sector who are working in partnership with academia and the NHS to deliver extraordinary advances in precision medicine and patient care.

On the agenda this year are the top trends in biobusiness and ways in which universities, hospitals and pharma can work together to transform fundamental research into effective treatments.

Miranda Weston-Smith, who founded BioBeat in 2012, says collaboration between industry and academia is very effective for delivering innovative biotech research. 
“Addressing today’s challenges in life science requires flexible partnerships that draw on strengths from across disciplines, where organisations collaborate to share expertise, skills and resources.

“We’re seeing this with the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, where all the elements necessary for drug development come together on one site to generate real improvements in patient care.

“A hub like this is hugely beneficial for both patients and the economy. The life science ecosystem should continue to embrace collaboration between all sizes of business and across multiple sectors. BioBeat aims to help individuals build their own partnerships tailored to their own needs.”

BioBeat16 brings together women from finance, industry, academia and the health sector to share ideas on how to foster entrepreneurship and drive innovation. This year’s theme is Stretching Biotech Pharma Entrepreneurship.

Lynn Drummond, chair of global consumer healthcare firm Venture Life Group and spin-out drug discovery company infirst HEALTHCARE, believes it’s not just greater access to feed funding that can help young biotech firms thrive.

“For those starting out in business, mentoring from industry experts is incredibly helpful. Many universities now have business incubator facilities, where experienced entrepreneurs can help new spin-outs better understand the market, develop a business roadmap, and overcome challenges in order to bring real benefits to patients.”

Weston-Smith adds, “It’s important for young entrepreneurs in science to recognise what’s possible and shape the future. By bringing together so many female thought-leaders together at one event, I hope we can inspire a generation of new biotech entrepreneurs.”

Drummond will chair a panel discussion on fostering innovation in times of flux through the perspectives of pharma, biotech, R & D, investment and patient involvement.

Guest speaker Jane Osbourn, VP of R & D and site leader Cambridge for MedImmune, the global biologics R & D arm of AstraZeneca and the lead sponsor of BioBeat16, believes greater collaboration in the industry benefits all parties, particularly startups.

Osbourn says: “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that there is a key role for the biopharma industry in helping to address the challenges of seeing scientific research and innovations reaching the patient.

“Established biopharma can support the work of smaller, growing research teams and link the key stages of translational research together: we need to be bold in our ambition and must work as a seamless community to deliver on the fantastic opportunity we have within the UK to be a global leader in translational medicine.”

The Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) is a founding partner of BioBeat. “We are delighted to be supporting the creation of the next generation of biotech startups and amazing women leaders in Cambridge as part of this longstanding and successful partnership with BioBeat”, said Hanadi Jabado, executive director of the CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre.

BioBeat16 will also feature presentations from Julie Walters, founder of Raremark, on engaging with patients through online networks, Sally Waterman, senior vice-president at Abzena plc, on scaling-up and from Inga Deakin of Imperial Innovations plc on financing growth.

• BioBeat16 will take place on Wednesday November 16, 5.30pm–8.30pm, at the McGrath Centre, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. The event will be invaluable for those working in industry, academia and finance, and provides an unrivalled opportunity to network with those at the heart of biobusiness.

In addition to MedImmune, AstraZeneca and Covington & Burling are sponsors of BioBeat16 and support comes also from the Innovation Forum and One Nucleus. To register, visit the website: 

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