New accelerator programme will help biotech start-ups and support transition to net zero

Early-stage ventures bringing new products and services into Scotland’s bioeconomy are to be offered free support through a new accelerator programme.

Launched by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) during the UK’s first-ever Bioeconomy Week, the Biotech Innovators initiative will take a group of companies through a programme of targeted support and guidance.

Applications are now open to biotechnology businesses with a footprint in Scotland that are less than two years post-investment or still pre-launch.

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The accelerator programme will include one-to-one mentoring, events and workshops, aiming to translate scientific research into “viable business ideas” that will support the nation’s transition to net zero.

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The first cohort will also gain access to the wider IBioIC network, with experts in areas such as intellectual property and business finance brought in to offer specialist advice as required. Additionally, firms that secure a place on the accelerator will be able to apply for different funding calls run by the innovation centre - usually restricted to members only - as well as making use of the expertise from the IBioIC Scale Up Centre.

Mark Bustard, chief executive of IBioIC, said: “All young companies face challenges getting their ideas off the ground, whether in terms of regulation, funding or personnel. For biotechnology companies, in particular, there are additional hurdles to overcome - the scale-up process can be complex and capital intensive, so it is important that small businesses can access the support they need to succeed.

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“While a variety of Scottish accelerator programmes already exist, there is nothing specifically focused on industrial biotechnology and the unique challenges and opportunities facing young companies in the sector.”

He added: “As Scotland strives to achieve net zero, innovative early-stage companies have the potential to play a hugely important role in shaping our economy. However, it is crucial that we create a welcoming, encouraging sector where new businesses can grow and thrive with the right support.”

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Applications are now open to biotechnology businesses with a footprint in Scotland that are less than two years post-investment or still pre-launch.

The Biotech Innovators accelerator programme is due to kick off in January. While the accelerator is open to businesses covering any biotechnology specialism, a number of priority sectors were identified in Scotland’s national plan for industrial biotechnology, including biorefining, manufacturing, food and drink, waste management, agriculture and marine biotechnology.

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