Biotech startup BugBiome was announced as the winner of the Discovery Spark life science business support programme at the GIANT Health Healthcare Investment Show on 5 December.
As a result, BugBiome will be awarded a business support package worth over £100,000, including one year of free lab space at Discovery Park and £50,000 investment from Discovery Park Ventures.
Thirteen startups took part in the Discovery Spark programme, including 3D Synthesis; Awen; Bing Bong Biologics; BioMavericks; BugBiome; CardioCrown; DLOC Biosystems; Dravya Discovery; KASNMR; Matrix Bio; Rapidx Bio; The Future Care; and XR-Musica.
The businesses participated in in-person training sessions, covering topics such as building an excellent team, understanding and conveying business metrics, and building a strong brand, as well as extensive networking and mentoring opportunities.
Having refined their pitches throughout the programme, six finalists pitched to investors and other audience members as part of the GIANT Health conference.
BugBiome was chosen as the overall winner based on its promising business offering and extensive progress throughout the programme.
The company is harnessing the power of the skin microbiome to repel pests, utilising natural bacteria to create effective, long-lasting repellents.
Alicia Showering, founder and CEO of BugBiome, said: “We’re so excited to win the Discovery Spark programme following a fantastic eight weeks learning from industry leaders and our fellow startups.
“We’re passionate about stopping the spread of deadly vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue, and Discovery Spark has given us some excellent tools and connections to further progress our business and make this a reality.”
Based on the strength of the participating companies, Discovery Park decided to offer a wildcard prize in addition to the overall winner.
BioMavericks, which is focused on developing an in vitro diagnostic urine test for pancreatic cancer to revolutionise cancer diagnostics using AI-driven biotechnology, was selected as the wildcard winner, following the audience vote at the GIANT Health Healthcare Investment Show.
The company will be awarded six months of free lab space at Discovery Park, as well as business support from Barclays Eagle Labs and the programme’s partners.
Renos Savva, Discovery Park’s head of innovation, who led the programme, said: “We were thrilled to welcome such a promising group of startups to Discovery Park to share experience and ideas from specialists within the industry.
“We saw all of the participants develop their businesses over the course of the programme and I am excited to witness their further growth in the coming months and years.
“Choosing the winner was a very tough task and I would like to congratulate all the companies involved.
“Particular congratulations go to BugBiome and BioMavericks on their wins, and I look forward to welcoming them to Discovery Park and continuing to work with them.
“Many thanks to all our supporting companies, facilitators and advisors for making the programme such a success.”
Mayer Schreiber, CEO at Discovery Park, added: “The Discovery Park team prides itself on supporting the next generation of life science leaders, and our Discovery Spark programme is the embodiment of that.
“Working with these companies has demonstrated the wealth of innovation we have in the UK, and it excites me to see how they will progress in the future. Congratulations to the winners, we look forward to welcoming you to Discovery Park soon.”