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23 April, 2019 - 10:15 By Tony Quested

Eight Cambridge life science and technology companies win Queen’s Awards

Clare Russell and Paul Avery

Eight Cambridge life science and technology companies, including machine learning and life science darlings Luminance, Speechmatics and BioStrata, were today unveiled among 22 East of England businesses to win coveted Queen’s Awards in the UK.

Luminance and Speechmatics, both machine learning doyens, were victorious in the Innovation category where competition is traditionally red hot.

BioStrata won an International Trade accolade. Established in 2014, BioStrata is a specialist marketing agency which connects companies in the life sciences sector with customers to ease adoption of cutting edge technologies, techniques and services that drive scientific discovery and impact the world around us.

The team spans North America and Europe and includes former industry scientists, commercial professionals and PhD graduates. International sales have grown from £445k to £1 million – an overall growth of 131 per cent – across the last three years.

Clare Russell, co-founder and MD of BioStrata, said: "BioStrata is motivated by delivering results for our clients, but moments like this provide an opportunity to thank our valued industry partners and our international team for all their support. 

“The year-on-year growth marked by our Queen’s Award helps us to invest in our people and in nurturing creativity and innovation, and to strive for greater success for our clients." 

Other Cambridge companies honoured were Data Conversion Systems in Swavesey, SciBite Ltd in Hinxton, Costello Medical Consulting,  Doodlehouses Ltd (Fulbourn) and Meteor Inkjet.

Luminance is an artificial intelligence platform for the legal profession. Developed using the latest advances in machine learning and pattern recognition techniques from the University of Cambridge, Luminance has quickly become the market leader in the legal technology market. 

The company’s 150 customers include 15 of The Global 100 law firms, such as Slaughter and May, Bird & Bird and Eversheds Sutherland.

CEO Emily Foges said: “In this era of unmanageable enterprise data, adopting legal technology is no longer optional, and we are delighted to be providing lawyers with a next-generation solution to their daily needs. 

“This award is the ultimate recognition of the innovation at the heart of Luminance and the incredible people who have brought a clever piece of technology from Cambridge to commercial success.”

CTO James Loxam added: “Over the past two years, Luminance has delivered world-class, machine learning technology to law firms and in-house counsel across 40 countries and six continents. This award is validation of our solution and we are excited to continue developing the platform for the benefit of thousands of lawyers and their clients.”

Speechmatics is a leader in machine learning and automatic speech recognition. Its ‘Automatic Linguist’ is a tool that uses machine learning to assist in building new languages and is foundation of all Speechmatics’ world-leading speech-to-text technology. 

The Automatic Linguistic can build a new language in as little as a week and also allows for rapid iteration, improvement and adaptation of existing languages. 

The tool streamlines the entire language build process and creates substantial business value by recognising patterns within and across languages and applying them to new language builds. This significantly reduces the time, data and financial costs required to form a new language.

CEO John Milliken said: “To be recognised for the truly innovative technology that we are producing is a real testament to the incredibly talented team that we have here at Speechmatics. 

“We are always pushing the boundaries, which in turn means customers and partners have access to some of the most impressive technology in the speech recognition industry.”

To date, the Automatic Linguist has learned 75 languages, including Japanese, Hindi, Russian and Korean, many of which have already been deployed commercially. 

This innovative system has also created new jobs, and enabled driven revenue & growth, and has attracted significant further investment.

Representatives from all winning businesses will be attending an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 11 to receive their accolades. Business Secretary Greg Clark was full of praise for all the enterprises that won awards the length and breadth of the UK.

He said: “These prestigious awards help shine a light on all that is great about UK business today. I am extremely impressed to see such a wealth of talent and innovation from across the UK being recognised today by The Queen.

“These awards recognise the innovative products and services being provided by British businesses that are in demand across the world, as well as the sheer determination and hard work that comes with starting and running a business. 

“Many of these winners are small businesses – the backbone of our economy – and we are backing them to grow, increase their productivity and create more jobs and opportunity across the UK through our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Greg Clark

Other local winners were Burland Technology Solutions in Suffolk, OPRO International in Hemel, D.K.Engineering Acquisition (Chorleywood), Dotmatics Ltd (Bishop’s Stortford), DV Signage Ltd (Knebworth Park), Element 1 Engineering (Luton), Home Health (UK) Ltd (Bushey), Panel Graphic Ltd (Loddon), Pickering Interfaces (Clacton), Ultimotive (Colchester), Verifile Ltd (Bedford), (Norwich) and Willmott Dixon in Letchworth.

Snap-on UK Holdings in King’s Lynn won two awards – for Innovation and International Trade.  The company manufactures essential products that are used in the automotive industry to repair and service vehicles across Europe.

Data Conversion Systems, which wins in Innovation, makes high end audio equipment. Costello Medical Consulting is an International Trade winner. The company provides scientific support to the healthcare sector via analysis, interpretation and communication of clinical and health economic data. 

Public Health England is among its clients; headcount has grown from 10 in 2010 to more than 130 and overseas sales have grown from £1.4m to £3.6m over the last six years – an overall growth of 154 per cent.

The top five countries for exports in the last year were Belgium, the US, France, Singapore and Sweden. It is expected that overseas offices will be established in China and the US in the next six to 18 months.

Doodlehouses, another International Trade winner, designs and manufactures automatic chicken coop door openers and self-locking door kits. Western Europe, Scandinavia, North America and Australasia are key to future growth for the International Trade winner.

Meter Inket (International Trade) has supplied industrial printhead drive electronics and software since 2006, initially as part of the TTP Group and, from 2015, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Graphics plc. 

The company designs the electronics that drive printheads used in industrial applications such as printing on ceramics and textiles.

SciBite Ltd (International Trade) is honoured for outstanding short-term growth in overseas sales in the last three years. Exports have grown year-on-year, rising from £316k to £2.3m – an increase of 645 per cent. The company’s software has been adopted across the top 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

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