Triple whammy for Horizon as Cambridge dominates Biotech and Money Awards

Darrin Disley Maserati 100

Horizon Discovery, the world leading gene editing business anchored in Cambridge, is toasting triple success in a major UK life science competition.

The Cambridge Research Park company, which is leading the charge towards personalised medicines, won three major accolades at last night’s annual Biotech and Money Awards in London.

Cambridge companies took three-quarters of the prizes on offer – nine out of the 12.

Horizon was named UK Public Life Science Company of the Year; this followed the company being voted Quoted Company of the Year in the Business Weekly Awards in March.

Horizon, together with strategic communications agency Consillium won Life Science Communication Strategy of the Year. Bringing up the treble in style, CEO Dr Darrin Disley was named UK Public Life Science CEO of the Year.  Dr Disley said: “It is great for Horizon and myself to have been recognised in the room by several hundred of the UKs top life science executives, venture capitalists, public market funds and journalists. It has been a great year so far and now with the acquisition of Dharmacon we hope to be able to scale up to become a truly global market leader in our field.”

F-star and Artios Pharma each won two awards and Bicycle Therapeutics and Microbiotica claimed one apiece.

Artios Pharma, based at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge won the Life Science Young Company of the Year and UK Private Finance Raise of the Year awards. Artios Pharma was established in May 2016 to build an innovative DNA Damage Response (DDR) target pipeline with the potential to transform cancer therapy. Artios has in-licensed its lead programme, PolƟ, from Cancer Research Technology, the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK, and continues to work with CRT and other experts in the field to build its pipeline of novel DDR programmes.

Fellow Babraham company F-star won UK Life Science Deal of the Year while its CEO John Haurum won the Private Sector Lifescience CEO of the Year award. F-star is developing immuno-oncology bispecific antibody therapeutics. It is preparing to dominate the bispecific antibody space in immuno-oncology through the application of its highly efficient Modular Antibody Technology™ platform. 

The platform enables the discovery of novel bispecific antibodies, which are selected for their potential to transform the treatment of cancer. 

The UK Private Life Science Growth Company of the Year award went to another Babraham-based company, Bicycle Therapeutics. Bicycle is developing first in class medicines to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases. Its bicyclic peptides (Bicycles®) are designed to rapidly penetrate the tumour, delivering payloads selectively to where they are needed while minimising exposure to normal tissue and associated toxicities.

Microbiotica at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge was crowned  UK Life Science Spin-Out of the Year. Microbiotica was launched in December 2016 with the aim of creating a global leader to exploit the leading microbiome science built at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. 

The company retains a close association with the Sanger Institute and its founders. Microbiotica identifies gut bacteria linked to phenotype with unprecedented precision in order to discover and develop live bacterial therapeutics and biomarkers.

There are also strong Cambridge links with a 10th award winner – Carrick Therapeutics, which won the UK Private Finance Raise of the Year. One of its founding scientific programmes is derived from the prolific Cambridge laboratory of Professor Steve Jackson. Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation arm, invested in Carrick’s monster $95 million initial funding round last October. The company has operations in Dublin and Oxford.

Carrick, Microbiotica and Bicycle Therapeutics are all Cambridge Innovation Capital portfolio companies.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Horizon Discovery CEO, Dr Darrin Disley

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