Copy of Entrepreneurship starts with rejecting conventional thinking

This February and March, the SEC is looking at what impact human augmentation will have on the future of our physiology. We will explore the potential scientific, social and ethical implications of human augmentation through the lens of four different technologies including brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), bionics and prosthetics, neurotechnology and gene editing, and finally, bioprinting. But before looking at our first technology, we examine what human augmentation actually is, its origins and how close it is to commercialisation.

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Entrepreneurship starts with rejecting conventional thinking

I visited the Imperial College Incubator in White City, London, to talk with Steven O’Connell, the associate director and programme manager at RebelBio, a life science startup programme backed by VC firm SOSV. Steven completed an undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical biotechnology at the Cork Institute of Technology and a translational masters degree in Biotech and Business at University College Dublin before joining a startup called GlowDx, which was part of an early RebelBio cohort. From there he went on to join RebelBio as the programme manager and has helped nurture over 60 life science startups over 7 cohorts. We discussed RebelBio’s approach in selecting promising startups and how to maximise their chances of success, as well as how scientists should reject conventional thinking when approaching entrepreneurship.  

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GW PHARMACEUTICALS: CAMBRIDGE’S MARIJUANA POWERHOUSE

Based in Cambridge, UK, yet listed on the USA’s Nasdaq Stock Exchange Market, the bio-pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals is aiming to become the worldwide leader in medical marijuana treatments. Founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Guy and Dr Brian Whittle, GW initially focussed much of its pioneering research and development in symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. That same year, GW obtained a unique licence from the Home Office to cultivate Cannabis seeds on UK soil. By moving from London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) to the USA’s biotech-friendly Nasdaq market, GW quickly tapped into a burgeoning field of marijuana-mad investors at a time when American state laws were easing on the long-time locked-down cannabis drug. Valued today as a $4.5 billion company, and with share prices having risen from $8.90 to over $150 in just 5 years, GW has now grown to produce therapies for epilepsy and even carry out trials with cannabis-derived cancer drugs.

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DESKTOP GENETICS – THE SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE OF AI AND GENOME EDITING

Desktop Genetics was founded in 2012 by a chemical engineer, a molecular biologist and a biochemist with the vision to combine bioinformatics and genetics to support researchers on their quest to cure human genetic diseases. With the advent of CRISPR-Cas9 in 2013, Desktop Genetics redirected its focus entirely onto the development of an artificial intelligence (AI) system. The system is tailored to design custom CRISPR libraries, an effort honoured by the founders’ placement on the Forbes 30 under 30 of Europe’s Technology sector. For those who have miraculously evaded all the rage about CRISPR-Cas9, it is the most precise genome editing technology currently available. It is based on a viral defence mechanism found in certain bacteria, and uses an endonuclease (Cas9) guided by a single-RNA to precisely target and cut complementary genomic sequences. This can then be used to introduce either mutations, knock-ins, knock-outs, or replace a faulty piece of DNA with a correct one.

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FROM LONDON TO SILICON VALLEY AND BACK AGAIN: A SCIENTIFIC ENTREPRENEUR’S TALE

I visited Sixfold Biosciences in the Imperial College Innovation and Translation Hub to have a chat with their co-founder Anna Perdrix Rosell. Anna is an oncology PhD student at the Francis Crick Institute and made it onto the Forbes 30 under 30 list for European science and healthcare this year. With her co-founders, George Foot and Zuzanna Brzosko, they are developing Sixfold’s unique Programmable Oligonucleotide Delivery Devices (PODDs), which aim to deliver gene therapy molecules exclusively to diseased cells. Sixfold Bioscience went through Y Combinator (the top U.S. accelerator) at the beginning of 2018 and have since received seed funding from Silicon Valley investors. We discussed what it was like starting a company during her PhD, the key barriers facing young entrepreneurial scientists and what motivated her to work in biotech.

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FUELING THE FUTURE? THE RISE AND FALL OF BIOFUELS.

There is a pressing need to develop alternatives to fossil-fuel-derived oils that are used in our transport vehicles. The term “petroleum” covers both naturally occurring unprocessed crude oil and products made up of refined crude oil, which is obtained via drilling into geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface. Over the last decade, environmental groups have been keen to stress the negative environmental effects of the petroleum industry: the combustion of such fuels contributes to climate change and acid rain, oil spills are damaging to aquatic organisms, and drilling can influence seismic activity. That’s to name a few. But change is coming.

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Fetch.AI partners with Clustermarket to improve the allocation of scientific equipment across the UK

Fetch autonomous agents have been created to maximise asset utilisation and provide personalised predictions for Clustermarket’s users and providers.

Insert date September 2018, Cambridge, United Kingdom: Fetch.AI today announces that Clustermarket, an online sharing platform for scientific equipment and services, will deploy over 600 Fetch Autonomous Economic Agents. The agents will be deployed on Fetch.AI’s decentralised network but connected to Culstermarket’s online marketplace to improve how scientific equipment and services are booked and allocated across the UK.

Clustermarket is an online booking tool for basic and scarce scientific equipment and services that connects laboratories at institutions like Imperial College, UCL, King’s College and the University of Cambridge with scientists, companies and organisations that wish to use the machines or outsource experiments. The platform

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The Magnificent Seven Life Science Startups Hitting London this Summer

Exciting life sciences startups from around the world are kicking off their acceleration in London
this week. RebelBio, the world’s first life sciences accelerator and owned by SOSV, has taken
on seven companies for Cohort VI and they are working on some extremely innovative and
disruptive tech. Whether you are into sustainability in the food sector, artificial intelligence and
machine learning, neurodegenerative disease or the microbiome (to name a few) there is
something here that you’ll want to follow. These companies include science lovers from a range
of backgrounds, including BScs, MBAs, PhDs, doctors, surgeons, CEOs and visionaries, who
are being thrust into a full-on three month programme including investment, mentorship and
business training with RebelBio.

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A startup from London brings personalised epigenetic testing directly to the everyday consumer.

As part of this month’s #genomejuly topic I was interested in the advances of the epigenome innovations in the biotech industry. I, therefore, recently spoke with Chronomics CEO, Dr. Tom Stubbs. Chronomics is a startup that brings personalised epigenetic testing directly to the everyday consumer. They offer a saliva test that will enable you to track epigenetic changes as a consequence of your diet, environment and lifestyle. Epigenetics is the study of alterations in the expression of genes without direct changes to the genetic code itself. During this month’s interview we spoke about Chronomics’ development and their realization in of the potential of epigenetic testing for personal health. I discussed with Tom the key challenges Chronomics overcame in their growth as an early-stage biotech company and his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in the life sciences.

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The entrepreneurial journey of Timothy Brownstone (CEO of KYMIRA Sport)

The idea was initially developed by its CEO Timothy Brownstone, who had previously read a NASA research paper whilst at university discussing how infrared could be used to aid the growth of plants in space. With the understanding of this infrared technology, Tim set out to develop the concept of KYMIRA Sport which embeds Far Infrared (FIR) producing technology into the fabric of its sports clothing products. The technology in the fabric enhances the user’s performance and recovery during intense training and exercise by absorbing the waste energy from the body and latent energy from the environment. This energy is converted into FIR which increases the production of nitric oxide which then leads to increases in circulation, tissue oxygenation, energy production, pain relief and an increased efficiency in respiration.

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Open Cell is transforming shipping containers into lab space in London

Looking for affordable office and lab space in London? - Join Open Cell

Join an exciting pool of talented scientists, designers and early-stage businesses in Shepherd's Bush Open Cell bio-space. Open Cell contains 20 containers for early-stage startups, 10 studio spaces and 10 fully equipped labs. The Open Cell aims to provide affordable lab and office space to create and foster an innovation-driven environment for the next generation of scientist-entrepreneurs.

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Innovation in the human microbiome

The human body contains trillions of micro-organisms, with an estimated 3.8∙10^13 bacterial cells accounting for up to 0.2 kg of body weight (Sender, R. et al., 2016). These microbes live within us in a symbiotic relationship and research has led to the understanding that they prove vital to our physiological functions. As vital as they are in remaining healthy, they are highly associated with causing or contributing to the development of many chronic diseases. These microbes are collectively known as ‘the human microbiota’ and the ‘microbiome’ is the term which describes the genes of all these microbes. The microbiome is unique to every individual and the extent to which it affects vital bodily functions is only just beginning to be really understood.

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RebelBio partners with Clustermarket to support startups with state-of-the-art resources.

London, United Kingdom -- Clustermarket, the online sharing platform helping scientists, engineers and other technology pioneers to get easy and affordable access to equipment and services just announced a strategic partnership with RebelBio, the world's first early-stage life sciences accelerator with programmes in London and Cork. Clustermarket is providing companies backed by RebelBio access to the resources they need on demand with exclusive offers.

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Clustermarket: the airbnb for lab equipment

How many times you went around your department looking for a specific piece of equipment to use for just that one experiment? How many times you asked around your colleagues if they knew someone that had expertise on the new experiment you were trying to set up?

After the boom of “sharing economy”, in which people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, coordinated via the internet, for the first time we are able to book expertise, lab space and lab equipment outside our institution via an online platform: Clustermarket.

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UK’s first online marketplace for scientists breaks down barriers to entry for life science start-ups

For the first time , companies and scientists will be able to book expertise, lab space and equipment outside their institution via an online platform, creating a new dawn for independent life science research in the UK.

Clustermarket (www.clustermarket.com) has launched in partnership with Merck Accelerator as the UK’s first online marketplace for scientists – enabling grassroots scientific research and ‘access for all’ in life sciences.

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New Platform Bridges Valley of Death for Life Science

A new online sharing platform for life science research just launched has attracted hundreds of life science entrepreneurs and has bridged the gap toward making the UK more competitive in terms of commercialisation of scientific research.

Clustermarket CEO Johannes Solzbach says while the UK makes claims to being a global leader in science and research, the country has failed to compete when it comes to commercialisation and his platform, www.clustermarket.com, has set out to bridge this.

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