Author(s): BioStrata
Publication Date: 07th November 2017
Clinical scientists use the genome analytics software, Sapientia, to analyse genetic variants for rare disease diagnosis. © Congenica

As a collaborative platform for nurturing outstanding talent in UK bioscience, BioBeat publishes its annual Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness report to demonstrate the achievements of women leaders and entrepreneurs. This year the report recognises 50 of these talented women working across five key translational themes: Great Science, Financial Enablers, Collaboration, Patient Impact, and Infrastructure Innovation.

Below we focus on the report’s Financial Enablers theme, in which ten women leaders (including six Rising Stars) are recognised for driving exceptional investment and growth in the life sciences – and ultimately helping to make a difference to patients’ lives.

Which Rising Stars are enhancing financial support?

In BioBeat’s 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2017 report, the Financial Enablers theme recognises ten talented women investors and analysts leading investment activities and strategies to drive innovation in the life sciences.

These individuals include six “Rising Stars”, one of whom is Lucinda Crabtree, Senior Investment Analyst at Woodford Investment Management. Lucinda helps young and exciting life science businesses, such as AMO Pharma, Inivata, and Mission Therapeutics, to obtain financing so they can realise their full commercial potential. Lucinda will be speaking at the upcoming BioBeat17 summit on 16 November, in the “Catalysing biotech partnering opportunities with research institutes” session.

Another Rising Star presented in the Financial Enablers theme is Laura Taylor, CFO at Congenica. Laura played a key role in securing £10m in Series B funding in early 2017, enabling Congenica to drive the international expansion of its innovative genome analysis tool, Sapienta™. This tool allows clinicians to screen a patient’s entire genome to identify potentially pathogenic mutations, aiding more effective and rapid diagnoses in people who currently have an undiagnosed disease.

Laura Ferguson, UK Director of Capital Cell, is another talented individual recognized as a Rising Star in the report’s Financial Enablers theme. Having launched Capital Cell UK in June 2017, Laura then raised £650k for the platform, including significant UK angel investment, and has built many partnerships, including with MedCity and NHS Innovation.

Identifying funding trends and opportunities

The “Top Trends” perceived as igniting growth and innovation in the UK life science sector were identified by some of the report’s Financial Enablers. Claire Brown, Head of Investment at BioCity, highlights how a riskier investor appetite and the emergence of more ambitious UK companies is enhancing the funding landscape for therapeutic small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Also, Professor Melanie Welham, CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), who led a strategic review of the BBSRC’s Bioscience for Health portfolio to identify under-supported research opportunities, believes that even closer interdisciplinary collaboration in the future will drive innovation in bioscience. “In April 2018, all seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England, will come together to form UK Research Innovation,” she says. “Disruptive technologies often emerge at such disciplinary interfaces – Synthetic Biology is a key area to watch.”

And Elisa Petris, Partner at Syncona, adds that the adoption of novel ‘third-wave technologies’, such as gene therapy and engineered cell therapies, will increasingly present tough pricing decisions. “Companies developing these therapies will need to work closely with payers to implement the right reimbursement model that works for all stakeholders, whilst giving patients access to these cutting-edge technologies,” she remarks.

To read more about the remarkable impact that these women’s business acumen and leadership has had on nurturing growth and innovation in UK bioscience, you can download the full report here:

Download BioBeat’s 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2017 report.