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29 September, 2021 - 22:10 By Tony Quested

Quality life science quintet accelerate under Babraham’s wing

Five promising early-stage life science ventures are beginning the next steps of their entrepreneurial adventure at one of the most successful locations for life science start-ups in Europe, the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge.

Now in its fourth year, [email protected], the bio-entrepreneurial incubator initiative established and developed by the Babraham Research Campus, has announced its 2021/22 winning cohort who begin their five-month journey with a week-long life sciences bootcamp.

The winning ventures will be able to explore and develop their science on campus in the company of an unrivalled network of mentors, experts, and investors. 

Access to free lab space and £10,000 non-dilutive funding completes the package, which this year has been recognised as one of the top 25 biotech incubators in Europe. 

Eight finalists pitched to a distinguished judging panel, including Dr Jane Osbourn, Chair Mogrify and CSO Alchemab Therapeutics; Anne Horgan, Cambridge Innovation Capital and prominent Cambridge entrepreneur; and serial life sciences investor Dr Andy Richards. 

The five winning ventures are:- 

  • MOSAIC Therapeutics – a cancer drug discovery company from the Wellcome Genome Campus, disrupting the traditional way of treating cancers.
  • Neobe Therapeutics – a Deep Science Ventures company engineering biologics to overcome immunologically ‘cold’ tumours. 
  • Creasallis – an antibody solutions company aiming to create a second generation of antibody-based medicines.
  • CamRegen – a University of Cambridge spinout specialising in the manufacture of collagen based medical devices.
  • Medusa Pharmaceuticals – an Imperial College London spinout combating antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Karolina Zapadka, head of [email protected] said: “It was a highly competitive and rigorous selection process, culminating in a fast-paced pitch-final which determined which five companies made it through. 

“These top five ventures succinctly and confidently communicated their idea, its potential impact, and longer-term ambitions. Today marks the start of their journey with us and we are very excited to be working with them.” 

Having supported 15 early-stage enterprises to date which have raised a total investment of £12.5 million, the programme will nurture this next generation of life science innovators and help them navigate this tough and fast-moving sector while enabling tangible successes with their science. 

[email protected] is supported by a core group of strategic partners: AstraZeneca, Eisai, LifeArc, Mundipharma and Kidney Research UK. Their support enables the delivery of this ground-breaking programme and their knowledge and connections open doors for start-ups that would not ordinarily be possible.

In the spotlight: MOSAIC Theraspeutics

Dr Mathew Garnett, head of the Translational Cancer Genomics Laboratory at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, co-founded MOSAIC Therapeutics in Cambridge with colleague Adrian Ibrahim. MOSAIC applies the power of large-scale genomics and artificial intelligence to identify the genetic drivers of cancers and develop drugs to exploit their weaknesses.

Headquartered at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, the company generates massive datasets using next generation tumour systems and advanced genomic technologies. Its AI-platform has been refined and validated over the past decade to prioritise key anti-cancer targets and to genetically identify those patient groups most likely to respond to treatments developed against those targets.

Dr Garnett’s research generates and integrates large-scale multi-dimensional genomic, pharmacological and genetic screening datasets to drive the discovery of new therapeutic biomarkers and drug targets.  He pioneered the derivation and use of 3D patient-derived organoid cultures as a new tool for cancer drug discovery. 

His early work identified BRAF as a human cancer gene, studies leading to the clinical evaluation of PARP inhibitors for Ewing’s sarcoma patients.

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