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Cambridge entrepreneurship

24 February 2016

The article at a glance

Three ventures supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School to pitch at finals of Pitch@Palace. Three ventures supported …

Three ventures supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School to pitch at finals of Pitch@Palace.

St. James Palace

Three ventures supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School are among 14 ventures chosen to pitch at St. James’s Palace on 7 March at the finals of Pitch@Palace, convened by HRH The Duke of York, KG.

Accelerate Cambridge is part of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, which supports enterprise throughout Cambridge and the University of Cambridge community.

Rebekah Scheuerle of JustMilk
Rebekah Scheuerle of JustMilk, demonstrating their device

The three enterprises – drug-dosing device venture JustMilk, disease analytics company Healx and drug delivery venture angioClast – were among 45 ventures that joined the Pitch@Palace Biotech Boot Camp at a daylong event on 22 February, hosted by Cambridge Judge and held at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton. About 200 people attended the event.

“Enjoy it, it’s up to everybody to make the most of it, so good luck,” the Duke of York told entrepreneurs pitching at the event, urging them to make the most of contacts among the mentors, judges and potential investors attending the Boot Camp, the first to be held outside of London and the first dedicated to biotech.

The Duke of York, who is patron of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, thanked commercial, philanthropic and university partners of Pitch@Palace, describing himself as a “swan’s neck” supported by a “huge number of paddling legs” powering the initiative.

Each of the 45 ventures had three minutes to present its pitch on the stage of the Francis Crick Auditorium at the Wellcome Genome Campus. The enterprises were divided into eight categories: Medical Devices, Research Technologies, Therapeutics, Agriculture, Big Data, Consumer Healthcare, Diagnostics and Other.

The 14 ventures chosen by judges to pitch on 7 March were: Adaptix, angioClast, BeamLine Diagnostics, Biogelx, Doctify, Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, Floreon, Healx, illumr, JustMilk, MediSieve, Nautilos, Playbrush and TINT LDN.

JustMilk has developed a low-cost nipple shield that safely delivers drugs or nutrients to babies when worn by mothers during breastfeeding; Healx uses data analytics to identify novel drug applications to treat rare diseases; angioClast is developing products to detect and treat cancers including the most aggressive form of brain cancer.

“Enterprise is absolutely central to the direction of the University,” said Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, in introductory remarks at the event. Cambridge Judge Director Christoph Loch said that while the start-up stage is essential for new ventures, it’s also important to get help scaling up once an enterprise is established. Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE DL, chairman of the Cambridge Judge Advisory Board, emphasised the importance of values to new companies, saying: “It is better to fail doing the right thing than succeed doing the wrong thing.”

Other speakers at the event included biotech entrepreneur Dr Andy Richards CBE, Michael Hayman MBE, co-founder of campaigns firm Seven Hills, and Hanadi Jabado, Executive Director of the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre.

“The first trillion dollar company could start here in Cambridge,” Dr Richards told the gathering.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines and Early Development at AstraZeneca and one of the judges at the Pitch@Palace Boot Camp, said: “The entrepreneurs involved in the Boot Camp share a rare combination of characteristics: true innovative thinking and a real determination to change and improve the way things are done.” He added that AstraZeneca is pleased “not only to support the next generation of biotechs, but also to learn from them and apply some of their energy and entrepreneurial thinking back into our own work.”

Another of the judges, Dr Richard Mason, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, London, and a Cambridge Judge Business School alumnus, said that Pitch@Palace “fosters an atmosphere that advances innovation in the UK biotech ecosystem. The Boot Camp gives emerging companies a chance to pitch their ideas to industry leaders and offers a system of support through the mentoring program, shared knowledge, networking, and real-time feedback on their business pitch. This culture of collaboration offers a platform for entrepreneurs to build their business and bring ideas to fruition.”

Other Cambridge-connected ventures that pitched at the event included Eagle Genomics, whose CEO Abel Ureta-Vidal is participating in the SME Growth Programme at the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre, and Sparrho, whose CEO Vivian Chan completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.