finance

Cancer start-ups among ventures selected for university entrepreneur programme



20 start-ups have been selected for a University of Edinburgh incubator programme aimed at developing and commercialising academic entrepreneurship.

The Venture Builder Incubator 2.0, part of the Data-Driven Entrepreneur Programme, is supported by the university’s commercialisation service Edinburgh Innovations. The incubator is delivered by the Bayes Centre on behalf of the university’s five Data-Driven Innovation Hubs.

The start-ups selected for the incubator include eight companies operating projects in the field of cancer. This follows a new partnership, announced in September, between the University of Edinburgh and Cancer Research UK to support PhD students and researchers in accelerating commercialisation of ideas aimed at combating cancer.

The ventures include: NanoTara, which is exploring a method for early cancer diagnosis using magnetic nanorobots; 10zyme, a start-up devising a simple method of detecting cancers through urine or saliva samples; and ForceBiology, developers of a more accurate and cost-effective high throughput drug-screening platform for cancer.

This year’s programme also includes start-ups in other sectors, including: Quas, a plant-based non-alcoholic beverage; Zoforia Technologies, developers of an online wellbeing platform for children; Amitabha, an artificial intelligence-driven conveyancing solution; and Robocean, a subsea robot that can plant seagrass 30 times faster and significantly cheaper than other methods.

Other participating ventures are: Amytis Labs, Cexal, EVA Biosystems, FastMedCare, Flimology, Insilico, Janus, Onboard.ID, Outfit of Tomorrow, Oxford Onco-Therapeutics, Sentinal4D, Therapev, and Whimsylabs.

This year’s cohort were chosen after an application process which includes PhD students and post doctorates from University of Edinburgh or Heriot-Watt University, as well as research staff focused on cancer-related projects from across the UK.

Each venture is provided with £2,000 and business support through a series of workshops, networking events, mentoring, peer-to-peer learnings and access to the University of Edinburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and its data expertise.

The Venture Builder Incubator, funded through the Data Driven Innovation programme of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, forms part of the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship Beacon Programme at the University of Edinburgh, to support post-Covid recovery.

The delivery of the programme is supported by Edinburgh-based strategic design consultancy Nile, Scale Space and edventure, a pan-European university venture builder and accelerator, launched in 2020 by three Edinburgh students.

The Incubator has also formed a partnership with FinTech Scotland to leverage its network to support entrepreneurs.

Charlotte Waugh, enterprise and innovation programme lead at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “We are delighted to welcome some of the most promising entrepreneurial students in Edinburgh along with leading academic researchers from other parts of the UK to participate in Venture Builder Incubator 2.0.

“We look forward to supporting these ventures, helping commercialise their ideas to transform them into world-leading businesses.”

Venture Builder incubator programme manager Laura Bernal added: “We’re delighted to welcome all our new cohorts including the eight start-up companies recruited in partnership with Cancer Research UK, with ideas to transform the way we treat cancer.

“These companies are focused on developing early diagnosis tools and less invasive testing to enable better and quicker treatments and improved outcomes for cancer patients.”

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