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Challenging the status quo in biobusiness

The focus was on challenging the status quo in biobusiness as around 120 men and women including bio entrepreneurs, graduates and members of multinationals gathered at the ‘Beating the odds: growing biobusiness today’ conference held in Cambridge in October to hear from women at the top in the industry. There were debates on Responding to global healthcare challenges, Building companies in new markets, Essentials to secure funding, and Creating effective teams and boards.

Jane Osbourn, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development, MedImmune and Head of Site, Cambridge, one of the speakers, reflected: “The conference set the pace for fresh ideas for the growth of biobusinesses, fertilising bio sector ecosystems that are crucial to enable networking and the formation of skilled cross-company teams and partnerships.”
Harriet Fear, CEO of One Nucleus, commented:

What an inspiring day that was – uplifting stories about meeting the sectors challenges head-on, with a clear focus on strong management and even stronger innovation.

The conference partners Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, biobusiness consultant Miranda Weston-Smith and OneNucleus are delighted with the outcome. Miranda Weston-Smith added: “Many people said they were spurred to action from the conference. We delivered on our core aim: to provide a platform to explore new approaches and strategies for enterprise, funding and growth in the bio sector, energised by women leaders.”

It was also about inspiring the next wave of bio entrepreneurs and leaders. In a global biobusiness sector that is undergoing rapid transformation, there are growing opportunities to tap into female talent and bring more success for men and women working together. Highlighting the contribution of women to the industry by offering a speaker line-up of all female business leaders from the UK and the USA also challenged the status quo.

Alexsis de Raadt St James, Founder and Chair of The Althea Foundation, a social venture fund, was the keynote speaker at the conference. She said: “I was delighted to be part of a discussion that encouraged the full participation of women as innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs in biobusiness and life science at the Beating the odds: growing biobusinesses today’ conference.

“As an entrepreneur and investor, I have seen an increasing number of women-led companies deliver groundbreaking treatment protocols and impressive advancements in the fields of pure research and epigenetics. As a result, most of my recent investments have been in women-led companies, or in innovations created by female engineers and scientists.

“While the number of female scientists emerging from our universities is approaching parity with men, women still lag behind in starting businesses and taking leadership roles in companies that develop innovative technologies.

I have no doubt that by drawing attention to the female talent pool in biobusiness, we can help increase the number of women who innovate and lead, which will in turn have a tremendous impact on the speed of discovery and the development of faster cures and better technologies. As a female entrepreneur, there is nothing more inspiring than being able to be a part of this remarkable transformation.”