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Duke gives boost to start-ups

Biotech firms step up for Palace bootcamp

Duke of York 2Three Scottish firms have been selected to attend a bootcamp for start-ups supported by the Duke of York.

Biogelx, Chitopolymers and Edinburgh Molecular Imaging were the winners at the Pitch on Tour in Glasgow which showcased some of Scotland’s most promising biotech entrepreneurs as part of the Pitch@Palace initiative.

Host Jim Reid from the Scottish Life Sciences Association opened the event that saw 20 entrepreneurs pitching to more than 100 guests from industry and academia.  A panel of judges selected the winners to attend the bootcamp in Cambridge in February and then go on to attend Pitch@Palace 5.0 at St. James’s Palace in March.

The initiative is supported by Informatics Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, TalentSpark, a service for startups in Scotland provided by recruitment firm Eden Scott, and the University of Glasgow.

The Duke of York said: “Innovation and entrepreneurship are cornerstones of our economy and Pitch@Palace provides a platform to accelerate and amplify the work of some of our most exciting entrepreneurs in the UK.  Pitch@Palace On Tour Glasgow is about showcasing Scotland’s early stage Biotech companies to a wider audience.”

Steve Ewing of Informatics Ventures said: “This is the second time Pitch@Palace has come to Scotland and the Biotech space is rich segment of our entrepreneurial ecosystem.  What we know about Pitch@Palace is that opportunities afforded to previous finalists from Scotland, along with the valuable connections they have made throughout the process, illustrate what an important event this has become.

“One of the main themes to come out of today’s proceedings is that Scotland’s biotech sector remains strong and there is a massive opportunity to further commercialise many more of our early stage ventures.”

Jane Kennedy of TalentSpark emphasised the impact Scottish biotech firms are having on the wider UK. “This year we will witness biotech businesses undergoing exponential growth in Scotland,” she said.

At Boot Camp, entrepreneurs will hear from leading industry experts and Pitch@Palace alumni, as well as receive support and mentoring. Between 12 to 15 entrepreneurs will be selected to pitch to an audience of 300 CEOs, angels, mentors and key business partners next month.

The winning companies:

  • Biogelx is a biomaterials company which designs tuneable peptide hydrogels for cell-based applications, including cell-based assays and regenerative medicine
  • Chitopolymers aims to extract the high-value, anti-microbial biopolymer chitosan from food waste (langoustine shells) for food packaging film production
  • Edinburgh Molecular Imaging focuses on the rapid commercialisation of in vivo optical imaging agents, which can diagnose cancer, inflammatory diseases, infection and fibrosis.

Companies pitching at Pitch@Palace On Tour Glasgow were

Barefoot Lightning, MindMate, Soapurity, Biosignatures, Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, IbisVision, Beyond Medics, Holixa, Metix, Biogelx, Everna Labs, Optomize, Avipero, Caldan Therapeutics, Elasmogen, Parkure, Acqua21, Chitopolymers, Healark and Lamellar Biomedical.

Informatics Ventures, with the support of Scottish Enterprise, helps foster innovation and entrepreneurship within startup and spinout companies and develops strong relationships between industry and academia.  It has been a springboard to more than £100 million in investment into early stage Scottish companies since 2008.

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