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Biotech and Healthcare Venture Creation Weekend, 31 May-2 June 2019

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Biotech and Healthcare Venture Creation Weekend, 31 May-2 June 2019

Are you interested in getting involved in entrepreneurship in biotech and healthcare? Do you have a novel biotech/healthcare idea or application that would transform the lives of many people?

Kickstart your entrepreneurial career and start developing your venture at the next Venture Creation Weekend on 31 May-2 June 2019 at Cambridge Judge Business School. It’s a chance to test your biotech or healthcare business idea, build a team and pitch to investors in 50 hours!

The Entrepreneurship Centre is working in partnership with AstraZeneca to offer aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators the chance to explore opportunities, ideas and applications in a range of technologies such as:

  • novel biological targets
  • therapeutics and research technologies
  • digital health (including artificial intelligence, connected data sets)
  • diagnostics or any transformative healthcare solution
  • genomic-driven drug discovery and application.

Why attend the Biotech and Healthcare VCW?

It’s a chance to create, test and validate your biotech or healthcare venture idea or application with industry experts. You can get inspiration from your peers and mentors, learn the basics of building a business and how to collaborate with others in a team environment. Some of you can go ‘founder-dating’, i.e. use the weekend to match up with one or more co-founders for your business. All participants will work together in teams on customer development, business models, pitching practice and building product prototypes (where appropriate). The most popular ideas are pitched to a panel of judges formed of industry leaders and investors who can provide expert feedback and analysis.

At the end of the VCW, you will have developed your entrepreneurial skills, kick-started your venture, enjoyed the buzz of exploring and creating ideas; and potentially be ready to launch your business together with a talented team.

In addition, one or more of the participating teams will be invited for an interview to join our Accelerate Cambridge incubator programme delivered by the CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre. Please note that successful application is dependent on whether the team meets the selection criteria.

Find out more about the content and format of the CJBS Venture Creation Weekends

When is it?

The Biotech & Healthcare VCW starts promptly at 17:00 on Friday 31 May and ends at 19:00 on Sunday 2 June.

The exact dates and times are:

  • Fri 31 May 2019, 17:00-18:00 – Keynote speaker (open to everyone)
  • Fri 31 May 2019, 19:00-23:00
  • Sat 1 June 2019, 08:30-23:00
  • Sun 2 June 2019, 08:30-19:00 (followed by a dinner from 19:00 to close)

The venue is Cambridge Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1AG. View our location and directions

What is the VCW like?

Testimonials from attendees at previous Venture Creation Weekends:

Really insightful experience, good networking.
Christina Kotsi, student, Biology Department, Biotech and Healthcare VCW, June 2018
Amazing and brilliant. Highly recommended.
Salman Bhatti, MBA 2017, University of Manchester, Biotech and Healthcare VCW, June 2018
Fantastically organised, very motivating and inspirational.
Warren Bath, student, Brunel University, Biotech and Healthcare VCW, June 2018

Friday 31 May 2019


Registration at Cambridge Judge Business School

Foyer, CJBS


Guest Speaker, Tim Guilliams, Founder and CEO, Healx

Fadi Boustany Lecture Theatre, SSC


Buffet Dinner & Networking



Welcome & introduction, CJBS



Welcome from Partners



Half-Baked session



Pitch your idea



Vote for your favourite ideas



Team building



Teams work on their ideas

Break out rooms

Saturday 1 June 2019


Arrival and refreshments; Sign up for mentoring sessions

Common Room, CJBS


Business Model Canvas presentation



Teams work on their ideas

Break out spaces


Tea / Coffee break and Sign up for mentoring sessions

Common Room, CJBS


Teams work on their ideas

Break out spaces


Sandwich Lunch

Common Room, CJBS


Teams check-in, report progress and call for help

Common Room, CJBS



4th/6th floor pods


Tea / Coffee break

Common Room, CJBS



4th/6th floor pods


Networking over beer and pizza

Common Room, CJBS


Teams check-in, report progress and call for help; Sign up for mentoring sessions

Common Room, CJBS


Teams work on their ideas

Break out spaces

Sunday 2 June 2019


Arrival and breakfast refreshments

Common Room, CJBS


How to pitch your idea



Teams work on their ideas / prepare for mentoring

Break out spaces



4th/6th floor pods


Tea / Coffee available

Common room



4th/6th floor pods


Sandwich Lunch

Common room


Teams finalise presentations

Break out spaces


Tea / Coffee available

Common room


All presentations should be submitted and uploaded on PC



Final Presentations



Break and Judging


Winners announced and Awards presented






Closing Dinner

Royal Cambridge Hotel

Dr Jason Betley

Senior Director, Technology Development


Jason Betley completed his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry in 1997. After a postdoc working on DNA synthesis at the University of Colorado in Boulder, he returned to the UK in late 1990s, where he worked for Cambridge biotech companies AdProTech and Prometic Biosciences.

In 2009, after three years working for Smiths Detection in Watford, he returned to Cambridge to join Illumina. Over the last ten years he has led groups working on all aspects of company’s sequencing, extraction and library preparation technologies. During this time, the technology has become easier to use, orders of magnitude cheaper and faster, and leads the industry. He is now Senior Director in the Research and Technology Group at Illumina.

Dr Iain Chessell

Head of the Neuroscience therapy area


Dr Iain Chessell is the Head of the Neuroscience therapy area at AstraZeneca, Cambridge UK, leading a cross-functional team dedicated to discovery and clinical development of the neuroscience portfolio. After building a portfolio in analgesia and neurodegeneration, he was promoted to Vice President and Head of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence and subsequently Head of the AstraZeneca neuroscience IMED.

Dr Chessell also serves on the AstraZeneca IMED leadership team and manages several high profile academic and industrial collaborations, and is author of more than 90 peer reviewed publications.

He received his bachelors degree in pharmacology from University College London, and received his doctoral degree from the Department of Neurochemistry at the Institute of Neurology, London.

Shiri Gold

Technical Marketing & Business Development


Shiri is an advisor, mentor and investor in the startup space. Shiri has over 16 years’ experience in the technology sector, in various roles including marketing, strategy and business development, project and product management. Currently Shiri is a business development manager at Broadcom, a Fortune 500 technology company. Shiri has an engineering degree as well as an MBA (from the University of Cambridge). Shiri founded two companies; a failed payment app business and a moderately successful tea business.

Shiri has been advising startups since 2011, helping companies achieve over $2m in seed funding. Shiri’s main interests are technology, mobile, biotech and fintech. She currently has three live investments and is a non-executive director of one of these.

Dr Tim Guilliams (Guest Speaker)

Co-founder and CEO


Tim is a tech entrepreneur from the Cambridge Cluster in the UK. He is passionate about the application of artificial intelligence for drug discovery. He is the Co-founder and Chief Executive of Healx, a tech company focused on accelerating treatments for rare diseases.

Passionate about patient impact, he is also the Founding Director of the Cambridge Rare Disease Network.

He obtained his PhD from Cambridge University in Biophysical Neuroscience and his MEng in Biochemical-Engineering from Brussels University.

Prashant Shah

General Partner, The o2h EIS Therapeutics and AI Fund, o2h Ventures

Prashant is the co-founder of o2h which has three core business segments covering ventures, discovery and technology. The team at o2h is curious about seeding new ideas at the intersection of life science and technology. o2h is located out of two proprietary research centres in the UK and India which have been purpose designed for seeding early stage innovation. Prashant has previously co-founded companies in the life science and technology sectors and began his career with the Strategy group of Accenture in London where he worked across various industry groups. Prashant has a BEng, MSc and an MPhil in Management from the University of Cambridge.

o2h Ventures has launched the first fund in the world solely focused on early stage biotech therapeutic and related AI opportunities. The geographic scope shall be UK wide including London and Oxford but will target the growing Cambridge biotech cluster. The fund operates from the 2.76 acre heritage Mill SciTech Park in Cambridge, where it can provide incubation, integrated lab facilities and support as part of a vibrant community to help the companies it invests to achieve a critical value inflexion point.

Paul Beverel

Clinical Pharmacology, Associate Director


Paul’s experience is in PK/PD analysis and pharmacology, with emphasis on early and late clinical development and translational biology. He joined MedImmune, the biologic arm of AstraZeneca in August 2015 in the Clinical Pharmacology department, providing modelling and simulation support to the pipeline of biologic molecules.

Prior to MedImmune, Paul has worked at Pfizer and Eli Lilly. He holds a degree from the Pharmaceutical University of Paris (France) and completed his PhD in the field of modelling and simulation at Uppsala University (Sweden).

His core responsibilities include using quantitative pharmacology in the support of projects in drug research and development across several therapeutic areas spanning from oncology, to respiratory, autoimmune, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, with the ultimate goal of setting the right dose in the right patient population. Paul’s technical skillset and scientific background is complemented by a strategic mindset and an entrepreneurial “can do” attitude that is critical for innovation and success of any drug development programme.

Dr William Deacon

Associate Director, BD Transaction team


William Deacon is an Associate Director in AstraZeneca’s Global BD Transaction team. As part of this role, Will leads and supports negotiations for Life Science licensing and commercialisation deals spanning multiple countries and regulatory jurisdictions. Having studied Natural Sciences (Physics) and a PhD in Biophysics at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, Will joined L.E.K. Consulting in their Life Sciences practice. As part of this role, Will led project teams providing strategic advice to the full spectrum of biotech / pharma / private equity on matters relating to product and portfolio strategy and M&A. Subsequently, Will was the global lead for analytics and insights for cardiovascular diseases at AstraZeneca, responsible for demand forecasting and marketing analytics amongst other things, before joining the AstraZeneca Global BD team.

Key areas of expertise include pharmaceutical demand forecasting, financial analysis, company and product strategy, transaction support, marketing analytics, market research, marketing.

Dr Lorna Ewart

Senior Director, Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Science


Lorna is a skilled drug hunter.  She has extensive experience of drug discovery in the efficacy and safety domains gained through 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry within cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teams often in different geographies. A visionary and strategic leader, Lorna is currently engaged in bringing forward new technologies designed to increase R&D productivity by enhancing the success of potential drug candidates.

Lorna received her honours degree in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen and her PhD at the William Harvey Research Institute, London. Outside of work she treasures her time with her family and black Labrador and when she is not with them she can be found in the gym, on a ski-slope or singing in the rock choir.

Laura Ferguson

Associate Director


Laura’s role in the Partnering and Strategy team involves facilitating external alliances and building relationships between AstraZeneca and the wider UK life science ecosystem. Laura supports search, evaluation and transactions for in-licensing early stage assets, with an emphasis on biologic drug design, respiratory and digital health.

She also works extensively with start-up incubators and accelerators in the UK and beyond; and builds partnerships between AstraZeneca and leading universities.

Prior to joining AstraZeneca Laura worked for the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Fund helping to spin out and finance life science companies from the University of Cambridge. Prior to that Laura ran the UK operations of a life science focused equity crowdfunding platform for two years, during which time she led activities in business development, marketing and fundraising. Laura has a background as an academic biologist at Oxford and Cambridge in molecular evolutionary genetics.

Dr Vincenzo Garzya

Head of Operations & Alliances, Data Science and AI


Prior to his current role, Vincenzo was the Operation Officer and Chief of Staff for Enterprise Data & Analytics Programme, PMO Director for Optimising Medical Evidence Generation Activities; and Patient Centricity Excellence Director responsible for the strategic direction and delivery leadership of the overall capability programs to enable life-cycle teams to build patient value in R&D.

Following his passion for advancement of medicines for patients, before joining AstraZeneca, Vincenzo has led several projects at GlaxoSmithKline-UK in World Wide Business Development, in the Centres of Excellence for Drug Discovery, in Global Project & Portfolio Management and in Global Medical Affairs. Vincenzo has contributed to several patented inventions, successfully led the in-licensing of gene-therapy treatments and built the global strategy, operations and governance for externally sponsored research.

Vincenzo has PhD in medicinal chemistry with an international project management accreditation and an MBA in strategic management. Vincenzo is an Honorary Associate of the University of Cambridge.

Rachel Haverfield

Senior Director – Legal Counsel EMEA

Illumina Cambridge, UK

Rachel leads the EMEA legal function across all EMEA for Illumina, overseeing legal, regulatory and compliance issues for Illumina since joining in January 2017. She is a member of EMEA Management Team and member of Global Legal Management.

Rachel has over 20 years of experience in providing legal support in both private practice and in house, and has worked across APAC, the US, and EMEA. Over the past 15 years, Rachel has held numerous key senior legal positions in market leading technology companies from start up to large global multinationals. In her most recent role prior to joining Illumina, she was responsible for supporting a cyber-security start up from $0 revenue and 10 employees through its growth and scale to 200 employees, a global footprint, and a Series C round investment at a valuation of $500M.

She holds a law degree from University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monash University and holds legal qualifications in Australia, New York and UK.

Nate Mayfield

Director, Commercial Operations, Strategy and Inside Sales


Nate Mayfield is the Director of Commercial Operations, Strategy, and Inside Sales for Illumina business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Nate has been with Illumina for two years where he has helped the EMEA region to develop and deliver upon a multi-year sales growth strategy.

Prior to illumina, Nate spent ten years in the tech industry at Cisco Systems, and had served for five years in the US Military. He has a BS in economics from the United States Military Academy, and an MBA from Columbia University and London Business School.

Dr Sébastien Ricoult

Scientist 2, Research and Technology Development


Sébastien joined Illumina in 2016 where he works on early R&D projects examining the technical feasibility of new technologies and building business cases to transfer them into future products. He has contributed to a wide range of projects across the gene sequencing workflow.

Before Illumina, Sébastien worked at OIST in Okinawa, Japan on an industrial collaboration with Sysmex Corp to develop nanofluidic immunoassays. He has experience in establishing start-up companies and was a co-winner of the 2018 Venture Creation Weekend: Genomics – Encoding the Future.

Sébastien has a PhD in Neurology and Neurosurgery from McGill University specialising in nano-neuroengineering, specifically developing array technologies to pattern surfaces with proteins at the micro- and nano-scale to induce neural regeneration. In his spare time, Sébastien is part of a small creative team interested in re-purposing existing technology for innovative new projects.

Head of Emerging Innovations


Hitesh is the Head of Emerging Innovations Unit UK/US within AstraZeneca R&D. This is a small, externally-focused R&D group primarily involved in drug re-purposing through pioneering “open innovation” partnerships with a global network of external investigators, as well as internal drug re-positioning. In his previous role as a Director in the Emerging Innovations group, his main role was to participate and execute the open innovation strategy within the innovative medicines function in AZ. This involves collaborating with academic institutions such as MRC (UK) NIH (US) to identify novel uses for our medicines and hence build a portfolio of projects. He has also been involved in internal ideation events (open innovation within a large company setting) in AstraZeneca.

Previously his role was in the science function within the AstraZeneca. His main role was as a chemistry cluster lead inputting into external and internal drug re-positioning projects and potential in-licensing projects.

He originally received his degree and DPhil from the University of Oxford in Chemistry and subsequently held a postdoctoral research position at Florida State University. Hitesh has over 40 patents and publications. He recently obtained an MBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Eliana Triggiani

Global Category Manager


Eliana is an experienced Category Manager with several years’ in blue-chip organisations working on Supplier innovation projects in Clinical and Manufacturing. Eliana holds an MSc in Management Engineering and a Project Management and Innovation specialisation from Polytechnic of Milan and Polytechnic of Barcelona.

She is passionate about innovation and coaching. She holds a coaching and mindfulness certification alongside SixSigma belt which are optimum combination for supporting people in their innovation journey.

Eliana is a proactive person with an eye for creativity and start-up disruption, with a desire for shaking things up, strong thought leadership, entrepreneurial style and innovation experience.

In her free time, she enjoys networking, volunteering business mentoring for young ladies and organising TEDx events in London.

Dr Georgios Varsos

Engagement Manager

Boston Strategic Partners

Georgios is an Engagement Manager at Boston Strategic Partners, a boutique life sciences consulting firm based in Boston in the US, being a multidisciplinary approach advocate, Georgios has experience in business, scientific and clinical domains, covering a range of areas including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and laboratory diagnostics.

Georgios holds a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences from the University of Cambridge, UK, and a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and has been recognised as a Person of Extraordinary Ability in Neurosciences from the US Department of Homeland Security. He has been involved in several programmes with Cambridge Judge Business School, having been an Ignite alumnus and a runner-up award winner in the 2015 Cambridge University Biotech Start-up Weekend.

Dr David Weston

Strategy & Innovation Lead


David Weston is the Strategy & Innovation Lead in AstraZeneca’s Biopharmaceutical Unit, where he is responsible for driving entrepreneurial activities and identifying game-changing technologies for use across R&D.

A neuroscientist by training, David holds a PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from the University of Cambridge, where he investigated the structure and function of ligand-gated ion channels in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.

Prior to joining AZ, David was a strategy consultant for PwC’s strategy and where he advised life sciences companies and public organisations on topics related to R&D strategy, M&A, pricing and market access, and growth strategy. David maintains an active network in Cambridge, London and beyond and interacts with numerous start-ups, particularly within the digital health space. He is also interested in entrepreneurship and understanding how pharma can support innovation.

Duncan Young

Associate Director, Strategy Group

Oncology IMED

Duncan is responsible for sourcing and evaluating innovative targets and technologies to support the company’s cancer pipeline and improve patient outcomes.

Duncan has a wealth of experience in business development and technology scouting, in particular in the interface between industry and academia, technology transfer and translational research. Duncan previously worked in the Scientific Partnering and Alliances team at AstraZeneca, establishing strategic partnerships with key oncology collaborators and research institutions. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Duncan joined MRCT as a Business Manager involved in the identification, protection and commercialisation of MRC intellectual property. As MRCT business model changed, Duncan moved into a newly created role of Business Development Manager to promote MRCT’s collaborative drug discovery capabilities, find new collaborative projects within academia and industry, and then source a commercial partner to help develop those projects to the clinic.

In recent years, Duncan has been responsible for commercial licences of over £25m in value, and led with Alzheimer’s Research UK on the formation of the Dementia Consortium, a novel business model to bring together the charity and pharma sectors to drive new therapies to the clinic.

Startup mentors

Dr Myriam Ouberai

Co-founder and Director


Myriam is Co-founder and Director of Spirea, a recently formed spin-out company from the University of Cambridge, which is developing an enabling technology for targeted therapies in oncology, through a project funded by Innovate UK and IP group.

Myriam is an entrepreneur passionate about scientific innovation in Life Science and technology commercialisation. She holds a PhD in Chemistry and gained experience in various scientific disciplines (engineering, biophysics, and pharmacology).

Myriam worked at the University of Cambridge as Senior Research Associate in collaboration with MedImmune-AstraZeneca to apply cutting-edge research in nanotechnology to peptide formulation. From this project, a paper was published two years ago in the journal Nature Communications which won the Medimmune 2017 Global Excellence Award for best publication of the year.

Dr Hannah Sore

Founder and CEO


PharmEnable explores new areas of chemical space that no one else is currently searching to enable the development of vital new medicines.

Hannah has over 18 years of research expertise, which includes extensive experience within the healthcare and drug discovery sector working in biotechnology, multinational pharmaceutical companies and academia. She has over eight years consulting and business experience across healthcare sectors at Frost & Sullivan and as a founder and director of HFS Scientific.

Hannah is also the Spring Group Research Manager at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge.

Maximilian Ge

MBE Programme Coordinator

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

Maximilian has more than 10 years of experience connecting tech and entrepreneurship groups across the Cambridge innovation ecosystem. He worked at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology in Bioscience Enterprise, the Maxwell Centre, the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre, the Computer Laboratory, the Engineering Department and the Institute for Manufacturing.

He has a background in maths and computer science and has previously worked on tech startups in the UK and Germany (Techstars). Maximilian is part of the organising teams of EPOC (Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge), CUE (Cambridge University Entrepreneurs), CUTEC (Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club), SVC2UK (Silicon Valley Comes to the UK) and Hack Cambridge.

Andrew Hatcher (Facilitator)

Head of Collaborative Programmes, Entrepreneurship Centre and Managing Director, The MAPP

The MAPP develops visual planning tools for developing and sharing plans of all kinds.

Andrew has a long history of identifying, developing and managing innovation within corporate environments and notably created an implemented a comprehensive and international innovation management system while working for Reuters, the European media group. His career at Reuters culminated in a role as CEO of an Asian-based Internet trading corporate spin-out in Singapore which he took through initial venture capital (VC) funding and on to a trade sale.

Andrew draws on a wealth of experience in all aspects of business management gained through working internationally, predominantly in the US and UK.

Zizi Hollander (Organiser)

Programme Administrator

The Entrepreneurship Centre, Cambridge Judge Business School

Zizi has a passion for business and, in particular, working alongside entrepreneurs. Among her happiest and most enduring achievements was the co-founding of a football newspaper in South Africa which became the biggest-selling newspaper in the country with impressive profit margins to boot! She has also assisted entrepreneurs in diverse ventures ranging from manufacturing furniture from old tyres to setting up a hair transplant clinic.

Zizi has a business degree from the University of South Africa and extensive experience in a range of different sectors, industries and roles.

Sayara Thompson

Programme Manager, The Entrepreneurship Centre

Sayara manages a few programmes at the Entrepreneurship Centre, such as the Venture Creation Weekend and Ignite. She previously worked in Alumni Relations and for the Master of Finance programme at Cambridge Judge Business School.

With a background in IT and AI research, she has experience in working in education, international organisations (Médecins Sans Frontières, UNDP) and the private sector. She is a great networker and is always keen to help people to connect and spot the opportunities.