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Converge final

Medicine developer picks up Converge’s top prize

Claudia Cavalluzzo at Converge 21

Claudia Cavalluzzo presenting the prizes to a virtual audience

A pharmaceutical spin-out from Strathclyde University, which is developing medicines to support patients with advanced incurable diseases, was the top prize winner in this year’s Converge celebration academic innovation.

Strathclyde graduate, Mallikarjun Chityala, founder of Fitabeo Therapeutics, received a top prize worth £74,200 in cash and in-kind business support.

Around the world more than 11 million people in palliative care suffer from moderate severe pain, often challenged by swallowing difficulty.  Fitabeo’s breakthrough, patented technology enables precision drug delivery via oral thin films for both immediate and controlled release.

Mr Chityala said: “This win isn’t just about me, but the culmination of a true team effort built on hard work, innovative science, industry know-how and strong industry relationships.

“We think we have a phenomenal opportunity to help people across the world living with chronic conditions and we’re so glad the judges agreed.  Just knowing that gives us great confidence for the future.”  

Other prizes went to an innovative digital platform bringing the craft of knitting into the 21st century, and a lightweight robotic glove empowering patients with hand weakness.

The event showcased 27 finalists with breakthrough projects across a diverse range of sectors including technology and engineering; the creative industries; the life sciences and healthcare. 

Converge is funded by the Scottish Funding Council, all 18 Scottish universities, Creative Scotland and a roster of partners and sponsors.

Award CategoryNameProject NameUniversityPrize
Converge ChallengeWinnerMallikarjun ChityalaFitabeo Therapeutics LtdStrathclyde£50,000 cash and £24,200 in-kind support)
Converge Challenge Runner-upStuart HannahMicroplate DxStrathclyde(£20,000 cash and £10,920 in-kind support))
Creative ChallengeWinnerLucy FisherKnit ItRobert Gordon£20,000 cash (plus £20,700 in kind support)
Creative Challenge – Runner-upJonathan O’NeillMake Your Own MusicalsRoyal Conservatoire of Scotland£10,000 cash (plus £9,420 in kind support)
Impact ChallengeWinnerRoss O’HanlonBioLibertyEdinburgh £20,000 cash (plus £14,900 in-kind support)
Impact Challenge Runner-upRuth CrozierSilver Lion Innovations LtdStrathclyde£10,000 cash plus £8,280 in-kiind support
KickStart Challenge WinnerThomas CartwrightDeepQAEdinburgh £10,000 cash
KickStart Challenge Runner-upJoe GibsonGibson RoboticsStrathclyde£5,000 cash
Royal Bank of Scotland Rose Award WinnerJodie SinclairTheo HealthDundee£10,000 cash
Cisco Future Tech AwardJonathan Feldsteinbennui.AiEdinburgh£5,000 cash
SSE Net Zero Award WinnerKen MorrowHydrowheelRobert Gordon£20,000 cash


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