Author(s): BioStrata
Publication Date: 03rd November 2017
Liver cells differentiated from reprogrammed skin cells. Green: alpha-feto protein, blue: DAPI nuclear stain © Stemnovate 2017

Now in its fifth year, BioBeat is a collaborative innovation platform for business entrepreneurs and leaders in bioscience. BioBeat’s Movers and Shakers annual report demonstrates how talented women in biobusiness are driving innovation in life science. This year the report recognises 50 outstanding women leaders across five key translational themes: Great Science, Financial Enablers, Collaboration, Patient Impact, and Infrastructure Innovation. Below we focus on the report’s Great Science theme and find out about those women who have been making great scientific advances towards giving us a healthier world.

Celebrating success and innovation

Working together with the Francis Crick Institute, the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre, and the Innovation Forum, BioBeat is dedicated to supporting innovation and collaboration in bioscience. This has never before been so crucial, with the UK government focused on increasing the speed of adoption and uptake of innovative products by 2023, as recently announced in its new life sciences strategy.

As a celebration of this year’s successes, BioBeat recently released its 50 Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2017 report. As Nikki Yates, Senior Vice-President, UK & Ireland Pharmaceuticals, GSK, remarks, “This report gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on some great examples of innovation across different scientific areas.”

Great science for a great future

BioBeat’s new report presents the outstanding progress of 10 women leaders and entrepreneurs working at the forefront of biobusiness in each of the five key themes. Miranda Weston-Smith, BioBeat Founder, is excited to present the report, saying, “These women are transforming the pace, scale and ambition of what we can do to respond to global health challenges.”

One of the report’s five key themes is “Great Science”, in which ten women scientists are recognised as making significant scientific contributions. For example, Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald at the MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge, has developed an innovative diagnostic test called CytoSponge, which helps to identify early stage oesophageal cancer. And Cath O’Neill, CEO and Founder of SkinBioTherapeutics, in collaboration with Professor Andrew MacBain at the University of Manchester, has identified a probiotic that prevents and controls diseases in skin models, called SKINBIOTIX.

The “Rising Stars” of bioscience

The two “Rising Stars” who are celebrated in the Great Science theme are Sumi Biswas, CEO and Co-Founder of SpyBioTech and Associate Professor at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, and Ruchi Sharma, CEO and Founder of Stemnovate.

Sumi is making exciting progress in developing novel vaccines by using biochemical superglue technology. This technology splits a protein from Streptococcus pyogenes (a species of Gram-positive bacteria) to enable Sumi and her team to achieve fast and efficient attachment of disease antigens to vaccine delivery platforms.

And Ruchi is delivering innovative organ-on-a-chip technology as an alternative to animal research for drug discovery. By integrating stem cell research and engineering, Ruchi and her team have been able to develop miniature models of human organs that mimic biological functions. This is a ground-breaking research tool that can facilitate targeted drug development, improve safety, and reduce costs.

Transforming healthcare

The “Top Trends” in bioscience – innovations that are generating opportunities and transforming the future of healthcare – are explored by the Great Science Movers and Shakers in the report. For example, Lindy Durrant, CSO and Founder of Scancell Plc, predicts cancer vaccines will be able to effectively and safely weaponize the patient’s own immune response against cancer within five years. And Professor Caroline Springer, Director of the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, talks about the importance of novel drugs currently being developed that target resistance to new malignant melanoma therapies.

To find out more about how these inspirational leaders are setting the pace of scientific discovery and innovation to benefit our healthcare, you can read the full report here:

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