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Incubating new ideas at biobusiness conference

The one day conference ‘Beating the odds: growing biobusinesses today’ on 3 October at Clare College, Cambridge has attracted support from a number of key incubation centres keen to encourage member companies to gain fresh perspectives on ideas, look at opportunities for growth and get up-to-date with industry sector opinion leaders.

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage biotech, pharma and medtech developments. Currently home to over 20 tenants, a key aim is to pioneer a culture of open-innovation that will place the UK bioscience sector at the forefront of worldwide biomedical discovery and deliver cutting edge healthcare solutions.

Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said:

We’re encouraging our members to attend this conference to inspire entrepreneurial drive, develop networks and enable the exploration of new approaches and strategies for funding and growth. It offers an excellent opportunity for the cross-fertilisation of ideas through interactions with a high calibre mix of industry experts and academics. This entirely fits with our remit to nurture and grow start-ups and early stage ventures.

Dr Barbara Domayne-Hayman, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, is one of the panellists discussing the essential issues for bioscience businesses looking to secure funding in today’s tough economic climate. A former CEO of Stabilitech, the platform technology company stabilising vaccines and other biologics, she brings a broad range of commercial, fund-raising, business development and general management experience.

‘Beating the Odds: Growing Biobusinesses Today’, instigated by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Cambridge Judge Business School and independent bio business consultant Miranda Weston-Smith, will bring together an all-female speaker line-up of biobusiness leaders to explore the strategies for enterprise, funding and growth that are proving most successful in today’s tough economic times. The aim is to inspire and support the next wave of bio entrepreneurs and leaders.

St John’s Innovation Centre, based at the heart of the Cambridge technology cluster, was the first innovation centre of its kind in Europe and has become widely known for its success as a business incubator offering experience, contacts, resources and a presence in the community. St John’s is also a key supporter of the conference.

David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre since 2008, said:

The conference will enable those working in the sector to gain invaluable new insights on current issues. In these tough and fast-changing times, it is important to learn how companies can adapt, respond to challenges and embrace a diversity of talent to help them remain competitive. I am sure everyone will benefit from hearing the expert views, approaches and attitudes of the highly influential and successful female leaders and panellists.

Cambridge-based Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT) manages and develops the Babraham Research campus, supporting and promoting the regional and UK bioscience ecosystem. BBT is home to 47 companies (with 50 expected by the end of 2013), and facilitates access to technical facilities, the Technology Development Laboratory, administrative, IT and corporate services as well as access to the world-class research of the Babraham Institute.

Derek Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, said: “This conference will bring together entrepreneurs, scientists, academics and investors together in a unique environment which can inspire new thinking and catalyse conversations around growing bio ventures. It has great potential to invigorate the ecosystem here in Cambridge and elsewhere. We’re delighted to support the event and encourage our members to attend.”

Current guest speakers and contributors include:

  • Dr Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca and Head of MedImmune
  • Dr Helen Lee, Director of Research at the Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, and Founder of Diagnostics for the Real World
  • Dr Julie Barnes, Chief Executive Officer of Abcodia
  • Catherine Beech MB ChB OBE, Entrepreneur and investor
  • Dr Deborah Harland, Partner at SR One
  • Dr Anne Dobrée, Head of Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds
  • Dr Jane Osbourn, VP Research & Development and Head of Site, Cambridge MedImmune