Share of £500,000 fund for fledgling life science businesses up for grabs

THE deadline is fast-approaching for Life Science start-ups across the North to take advantage of a £500,000 accelerator fund.

North of England Life Science Accelerator (NELSA) has been set up by a group including science park operator Manchester Science Partnerships, bioscience incubation centre BioCity, investment firms Catapult Ventures and Alderley Park Ventures (APV), university collaboration N8 Research Partnership and the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA).

The accelerator will be anchored at Alderley Park’s BioHub.

NELSA will aim to support young life science businesses across the north by providing seed funding for up to 10 early-stage commercialisation projects for a maximum of 12 months.

The funding will enable businesses to carry out proof-of-concept research and eligible firms will also be offered business support such as workshops, coaching and access to mentors.

Further, companies will be given access to the facilities and equipment at the Alderley Park site.

To be eligible, startups must work in the fields of life sciences and healthcare, covering areas such as diagnostics, therapeutics, devices and digital.

All accelerator applications must be submitted by January 31.

Helen Philippou, Professor of translational medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, says: “I completed the BioHub Accelerator programme in Spring 2016. Through the customer discovery process and access to amazing support from members of the expert network, my understanding of the clinical potential of my product was transformed. The programme provided an invaluable introduction to the commercial environment and the drug development process.”

Ned Wakeman, the director of BioCity, which manages Alderley Park’s BioHub, said: “BioCity’s programmes have already proven highly successful in supporting the creation and growth of successful life science companies. Joining forces with great innovation originating from within N8 Research Partnership, combined with clinical access and validation from within NHSA and funding, will help promising life sciences businesses bring great ideas to commercial reality.”

He added: “Alderley Park is the logical base for the accelerator. The applications we’ve received so far have been of extremely high quality but we want to see more, so I’d urge all life sciences start-ups to take advantage of a fund which could propel their business to the next stage.”