Start Codon launched in Cambridge, England with funding from keystone investors including Cambridge Innovation Capital, Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Genentech, Jonathan Milner and Ian Tomlinson. Start Codon is a strategic initiative that’s targeting translating research into commercial companies. It’s essentially a life science accelerator.

The accelerator will identify and recruit life science and healthcare companies within the UK and outside the UK. It will provide seed funding and leverage the resources of the Cambridge Cluster to help prepare the companies for Series A fundraising. It will be the first accelerator within the cluster to provide life science startups with up to $324,000 (U.S.) of investment, along with a full-time team of experienced mentors, and office and laboratory space located at the Milner Therapeutics Institute.

Start Codon expects to invest in and support up to 50 startups over the next five years. The accelerator is currently recruiting its first five companies, and is looking for companies “with disruptive innovations that will revolutionize modern healthcare.” In particular, it is looking for startups that focus on novel therapeutics, diagnostics, medical technologies and digital health.

The accelerator will be led by Jason Mellad, previously chief executive officer of Cambridge Epigenetix. Ian Tomlinson will be chairman of the board. Tomlinson is also chairman of Apollo Therapeutics and the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. He founded Domantis Limited with Sir Gregory Winter, which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2006 for $454 million. Michael Anstey of Cambridge Innovation Capital, and Jo Parfrey of Babraham and Jonathan Milner, co-founder and deputy chairman of Abcam plc, will also be on the board of directors.

“We are delighted to be involved in the Start Codon initiative as it looks to identify, support and develop future scale-up life sciences companies,” stated Jo Parfrey. “Our aim as a campus is to not only positively impact the local Cambridge cluster, but also bio-science across the UK. As an ideal location to accommodate these ventures as they mature through the Start Codon journey, we hope to play a significant part in facilitating the next generation of innovative and entrepreneurial companies.”

At least part of Start Codon’s philosophy is that as the size of Series A financing rounds continue to grow, investors’ expectations of startups grow with it. This is resulting in a gap between early-stage companies and the commercial expectations, a gap that Start Codon hopes to bridge.

Mellad stated, “Our ambition is to provide life science and healthcare companies with a unique combination of funding, facilities, mentoring and support to fast track their development and success. We are selecting the most exciting pre-Series A companies from around the world, and bringing them to Cambridge, helping to solidify the region’s position as a leading global cluster.”

For ambitious scientists looking for startup funding and support who are willing to move to the UK, you can inquire at [email protected].

“Start Codon’s innovative supercharged model will establish, nurture and spin out the next generation of world class healthcare companies that will positively impact all our lives,” stated Milner. “I am super thrilled to be working with such an esteemed and experienced set of stakeholders to guarantee the success of Start Codon. We look forward to enabling the next generation of Cambridge healthcare unicorns.”



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