Accelerate@Babraham Start-up Programme underway with four new life science start-ups taking part in the five month programme


The Babraham Research Campus’ third cohort of Accelerate@Babraham life science start-ups came together today for the first day of the 2020/21 programme.

Having received multiple, high-calibre applications via the Accelerate@Babraham Start-Up Competition, selection of the winning cohort took place in July, with eight finalists shortlisted to present remotely via Zoom to a judging panel made up of notable names from the life science sector, including investors, industry leaders and entrepreneurs. The eight finalists had just 20 minutes to convince the panel that their venture – both the idea itself and the team behind it - would benefit most from a place on the 2020/21 programme. Following the judges deliberations four start-ups covering the fields of new therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices were chosen.

The 2020/21 Accelerate@Babraham portfolio companies are:

  • ArcVax
  • Cambridge Paediatric HealthTech
  • ConcR
  • Stroma Biosciences

The four new portfolio companies secure five months access to Accelerate@Babraham’s bio-incubator facilities, including use of communal equipped laboratory space and flexible workspaces. Each also receives £10K non-dilutive funding; personal mentoring from world class experts in the fields of science and business and access to the Babraham Research Campus’ extensive business and investor networks.

The 2020/21 Accelerate@Babraham programme will challenge the start-ups thinking through a series of supportive and informative training sessions, workshops and 1-2-1 mentoring. All facilitated by experts in life science, bio-innovation and business, the sessions are designed to help the start-ups develop every aspect of their venture whilst also affording them the time and specialist space to concentrate on accelerating their science.

The first day of the programme began with an introduction from Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT), the organisation which develops and manages the Campus. Thereafter the cohort were invited to put their questions to a panel of life science investors, entrepreneurs and industry experts; namely Allan Marchington, Managing Partner, Bridge Valley Ventures, Jane Dancer, Independent Consultant, Andy Richards, entrepreneur and Cambridge Angel, Jane Osbourn, CSO Alchemab Therapeutics. Jill Reckless, CEO, RxCelerate, Robert Tansley, Partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Derek Jones, CEO, BBT and Simon Cook, Senior Group Leader & Head of Knowledge Exchange & Commercialisation at The Babraham Institute.  Previous winners, Reflection Therapeutics, Oppilotech and Tropo4 Therapeutics, also joined the new cohort to share their experiences of the programme.

Allan Marchington, Managing Partner, Bridge Valley Ventures commented of the programme: “Accelerate@Babraham is great for young, thriving, new entrepreneurs to really build their businesses in a safe environment here at the Babraham Research Campus and within the Cambridge ecosystem.”

In supporting the development of new science concepts and the creation of new companies, Accelerate@Babraham complements the Babraham Research Campus’ ongoing support of the Cambridge life science cluster, through the provision of access to the Campus community and infrastructure without the need to be an established occupier on site.

Jane Dancer, Independent Consultant added: “Accelerate@Babraham is an amazing programme, particularly in that It enables the cohort such good access to highly specialised and experienced support drawn from not only the Campus itself but also from the wider Cambridge cluster and beyond.”

Karolina Zapadka, Head of Accelerate@Babraham said: “We have really enjoyed welcoming the new cohort to the Campus this morning and I am particularly grateful to our panel for the extremely positive and stimulating discussion which kicked off our 2020/21 programme. Of course, given our current environment, there are challenges associated with getting everyone together, but we are fortunate to have the space available on Campus to meet in a socially distanced way. Bringing the cohort together, particularly during this first week was a major objective for us given that until today, they hadn’t had the opportunity to meet each other face to face. The Accelerate@Babraham programme is as much about forging the right relationships with mentors, industry experts, investors and fellow members of the cohort as it is about evolving each ventures’ scientific ideas and we will be working hard across the next five months to ensure that those connections continue to be made and nurtured, be that face to face on Campus or via other remote working methods.”

Accelerate@Babraham is supported by a number of strategic partners including; AstraZeneca, Eisai, LifeArc and Mundipharma.

To discover more about Accelerate@Babraham please visit

Details of the four winning ventures:

  • ArcVax: A new technology platform for low-cost animal vaccines. ArcVax is developing a novel platform for the production of low-cost glycoconjugate vaccines against several bacteria affecting poultry, pigs and ruminants. The inventions use patented glycotechnology for the expression of glycan/protein combinations that can be formulated to protect against multiple diseases. The technology will break new ground in veterinary vaccine production and could be widely applied for the generation of inexpensive, efficacious vaccines against most animal pathogens. 
  • Cambridge Paediatric HealthTech: Aiming to positively change the development, learning and life chances of children with hearing loss.

  • ConcR: Using custom developed software ConcR is combining multiple different approaches and data sources together into a single holistic approach for modelling tumour progression; setting it apart from others in terms of accuracy and specificity.

  • Stroma Biosciences: A University of Cambridge spinout, from the Department of Haematology and Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, that aims to develop therapeutics specifically targeting stroma-instrinic mechanisms in the heterogeneous microenvironment that are responsible for environment-mediated drug resistance (EMDR) and immune modulation in oncology and autoimmune disorders.