10 British Healthcare & Life Sciences Scale-Ups You Should Watch
The UK has a track record of a rich startup scene, especially research-based University spinouts, but is struggling to take companies further to a scale-up and growth stage. The government has realised though that a boost of just one per cent to the UK scaleup population could create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and a substantial GDP increase. It even launched the Scale-Up Taskforce to identify barriers to small business growth.
Scale-Ups need funding, good leadership and support. This can be in the form of growth programmes (e.g. PwC’s SCALE or the DH.L Accelerator), but also from supportive investors and board members who enable access to their networks and knowledge. Equally, I believe that better awareness of a company within an ecosystem and abroad can enable fresh connections and only be beneficial to its scale up.
Below I have put together a list and short profiles of some of the hottest UK Healthcare and Life Sciences companies which, in my opinion, are worth watching. If you think a company is missing or shouldn’t be on this list, please get in touch via LinkedIn.
Aigenpulse — Bioinformatics
This Oxford-based company has built a fully adaptable platform for scientific data storage combined with AI analysis. Pharma/biotech drug development is extremely expensive, has a high failure rate. Furthermore, data sets (especially in genomics) are getting larger and larger and hard to handle and many assets (i.e. experimental data) get acquired and need to be transferred to the new owner. Imagine now you have your data in a system that let’s you manage this data in an adaptable, scalable way, combined with AI-based analytics at its core. The company is only 2 yrs old, but already has some large contracts which needed a larger team and new offices. In our day of personalised medicine and high M&A activity, this company will have plenty of customers to come.
Arcis Biotechnology — Molecular Diagnostics
Arcis has developed technology that allows you to store biological samples for DNA/RNA extraction and protects those molecules. Subsequent extraction is fast and simple removing. Arcis wants to become the Intel Inside of Molecular Diagnostics companies. Outlicensing technology in a B2B fashion that enables the diagnostics company to be competitive is a strong position to be in. With 2 products on the shelf and attacking commercialisation for growth, the company has a strong pipeline of future products. They even have a crowdfunding campaign on Capital Cell open at the moment, so you could become a shareholder in maybe one of Britain’s next AstraZenecas!
Babylon Health — Digital Health
Babylon has developed an app that enables a patient to book and conduct a remote video consultation with a GP and send prescriptions to their specified location. The app also employs artificial intelligence, enabling patients to talk to a virtual nurse about symptoms. The company was part of the 2nd cohort of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme in 2017/18 which opened up a lot of doors for them. The company has raised over £64m by now and with the ever-struggling NHS and healthcare systems globally transforming to digital Babylon has found its place and is here to stay.
CERA — Digital Health
Cera provides home care services for seniors, older adults and individuals and uses digital and artificial intelligence to transform social care. Founded by Cera by a NHS Doctor it has received a number of awards and over £16m of investment.
Creavo Medical Technologies — Medtech
Creavo has developed magnetocardiography technology that helps physicians rule out active, acute myocardial ischaemia. The device is now CE marked and FDA approved. The company has raised over £20m and their growth round of £14m included IP Group and Parkwalk at a valuation of £22m pre-money.
DrDoctor — Digital Health
DrDoctor empowers patients to view, change and schedule outpatient appointments themselves, online, on their smartphone or by conversational SMS. The NHS is transforming and willing to digitalise, but it’s still hard to “get in”. DrDoctor managed this and is surely establishing itself as the appointment tool in the system.
The Electrospinning Company — Regenerative Medicine
“Regenerative Medicine”, which seeks to replace or repair damaged/diseased cells or tissues or to simulate the body’s own repair mechanisms, is experiencing increased interest in the use of implantable biomaterials. Electrospinning, another Oxford business, produces such clinical-grade biomaterials. The speciality is though that they can design and manufacture electrospun scaffolds in a wide range of formats, morphologies, shapes and sizes. There is a lot of know-how that you need for this and Electrospinning has researched and developed their methods over years with over £3m secured in funds/grants. A lot of Regenerative Medicine companies need these materials, so Electrospinning will be key to their success.
Jellagen —Marine Biotechnology
Based in Wales, near the sea, Jellagen has developed technology to extract collage from jellyfish in order to apply it to the field of regenerative medicine. Why jellyfish? Collagen from these marine inhabitants is abundant and cheap and most importantly not immunogenic. Jellagen has several large markets including collagen for scientific research, medical devices and biomaterials for wound healing and tissue engineering. They recently raised a growth round and opened up a new facility to scale up production and has its products already on the shelf.
Medopad — Digital Health
Medopad wants to create a world where people can live longer. Their technology takes a modular approach to cover a wide variety of disease areas to deliver better and more personalised care by transforming the way patients and data interact with their clinicians. Medopad’s AI division uses data collected through the platform to generate predictive insights which will be able to detect life-threatening medical conditions. Medopad has raised over £21m and was recently named a $1bn unicorn in the making by KPMG.
OVIVA — Digital Health
Diet-related conditions such as Type II Diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease pose a major challenge to healthcare systems around the world. OVIVA is a healthcare provider using technology to give access to a limited dietitian workforce to help meet the growing demand for their services. OVIVA offers a suite of clinical programmes developed to address diet-related conditions at scale. The company has raised over £9m in its last round and is set for its growth.