Four early stage ventures with novel medical technologies tackling skin disease, heart defects in newborns, cancer treatment and female contraceptive treatments have won prizes at the inaugural Medical Technology (MedTech) Venture Competition developed by the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre.
The MedTech Venture Competition is designed to enable researchers, scientists, technologists and founders to translate novel medical technologies or early stage ideas into real world applications through specialist advice, mentoring support and funding.
Congenita, a company which has designed software to create personalised 3D models for surgeons to correct congenital heart defects in newborn babies, was awarded the first prize of £10,000 by the panel of judges including Sohaib Mir, Investment Associate at Cambridge Innovation Capital. This is the second success for the team as they won the Trinity Bradfield Prize in October 2018.
Dr Nidhin Laji, the founder of Congenita who was one of the researchers who invented the technology, is a Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow and Foundation Doctor at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Nidhin met his founding team at the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre’s EnterpriseTECH PhD+ programme in 2018. He submitted a proposal and worked with five PhD students from the University of Cambridge on a feasibility study to assess the market validity and commercial application of the technology.
Nidhin said, “At our embryonic stage, startups all have one common problem: you need funding to validate your assumptions, but your assumptions need to be validated before you can raise funding. The prize, mentorship and network will give us the injection we need to test some of our key hypotheses. From start to finish, the MedTech Venture Competition forced us to iterate and improve our business strategy and pitch – we benefitted immensely from the process.”
Second place in the MedTech Venture Competition and a cash prize of £5,000 was awarded to DeepSkin, a venture that is developing novel imaging tools to diagnose skin disease. Third place was awarded jointly to Early Access Oncology and Sura. Both ventures receive £3,000. Early Access Oncology provides a pharmacogenomic test for cancer treatment. Sura is a personal medicine platform that tailors and monitors oral contraceptive use based on a woman’s unique biological profile, medical history, mental health, genetics and hormone levels.
All four of the winning ventures were given the opportunity to apply for and have now been accepted to the Entrepreneurship Centre’s Accelerate Cambridge programme starting in April 2019.
Shiri Gold, Head of MedTech Programmes at the Centre said, “The calibre of applications for the competition was high and all of the judges were impressed with the presentations by the finalists. Medical technologies are notoriously challenging to commercialise, so our initiative has been designed to nurture and enable Cambridge researchers and/or scientists-turned-entrepreneurs to make an impact with their innovations. We’re looking forward to working with all the ventures and helping them achieve their potential.”
List of winners
Congenita develops computationally designed personalised 3D models for corrective congenital cardiac surgery in neonates.
Deepskin’s founders, dermatologist Stephen Smith and a team of machine vision and clinical experts, are working on a digital imaging device to revolutionise the way clinicians approach skin disease diagram and treatment. Their ground-breaking work will combine cutting edge optical approaches with modern electronics in a platform that will enable the coming revolution in dermatology AI.
Early Access Oncology
Early Access Oncology is making personalised medicine a reality for cancers of unmet need. Leveraging cutting-edge research conducted at Cancer Research UK and the University of Cambridge, they are developing a genomic test that can help predict the best drug treatment for patients of the deadliest cancers. The team met at the recent Genomics Venture Creation Weekend held at Cambridge Judge Business School in November 2018 and are hoping to improve health outcomes for patients worldwide.
Sura is the first personal prescription platform (app and website) that aims to bring a personalised medicine approach to women’s health prescriptions by firstly improving the tailored fit of hormonal contraceptive medication. They tailor and monitor contraceptive use based on every woman’s unique biological profile; medical history, mental health, genetics and hormone levels.