5 amazing science and biotech companies to watch

From cancer-fighting biopharma to smart insulin, read about the amazing businesses making groundbreaking moves in science and biotech from the South West
21st March 2018

With world-leading universities and research teams in both Bristol and Bath, along with Unit DX – a brand new business incubator for science and biotech companies opened in 2017 – the South West region is unsurprisingly bursting with science startups solving some of humanities greatest challenges, one step at a time.

Keen to see where this tech could take us, we’ve gathered up some of the most exciting science and biotech businesses and startups based in the South West that you should definitely be keeping your eye on.

Ziylo

Ziylo was co-founded by Unit DX’s director Harry Destecroix (pictured left) in 2016. The startup is looking to set up partnerships with pharma companies to develop a new smart insulin to help improve the lives of those with diabetes.

Currently many diabetes sufferers must monitor their blood sugar levels multiple times throughout the day to ensure they are stable and that they are injecting the right amount of insulin. But with Ziylo’s development of the world’s most selective, robust and versatile Glucose Binding Molecules, the next generation of precise and reliable sensors for use in the blood for continuous glucose monitoring could be right around the corner.

Harry tells us: “In 2018 we will be raising additional finance to expand the team, bringing in more experience to help accelerate the development of our platform technology.”

Zentraxa

Zentraxa was the first spin-out from BrisSynBio – a multi-disciplinary research centre based at the University of Bristol that specialises in biotechnology – winning ‘Best South-West England SynBio Start-up’ at the 2017 Bio-start Awards in mid-2017.

Zentraxa has built a flexible platform to design and manufacture new biomaterials for the rapidly-growing designer peptide market. Their platform enables precision bioengineering to produce peptides with predictable and customisable properties, tailored to purpose. The applications for these exciting new peptide materials are as adhesives, sealants and coatings for use in food packaging, health and dental care, marine and underwater repair and in the automotive industry.

Atlas Genetics

Trowbridge-based Atlas Genetics, a spin-out company from the University of Bath, first caught the attention of the major press in 2016 when they announced their groundbreaking diagnostics tech that could test and diagnose diseases such as Chlamydia and MRSA in just 30 minutes.

Its technology works by detecting and identifying specific pathogens relating to an infection in a single patient sample faster than ever before – reducing costs, improving patient experience and reducing the risk of onward transmission of infection.

With a total investment raise of over £63 million, Atlas is now taking its research even further to design diagnostic technology beyond its current core product area of STIs.

Innaxon

With cancer affecting an estimated 2.5m people in the UK, it’s no surprise that researchers are working hard to find a cure.

Innaxon, an early-stage biotech company based in Bristol, is one of those making strides in tackling this with their latest advances in biopharmaceuticals showing a proof-of-concept for the treatment of cancer and prevention of serious inflammatory diseases.

What makes these treatments different to many others sits with its targetting of our innate and natural immunity for advanced therapeutical benefits.

Pertinax Pharma

Based at UWE Bristol’s Future Space hub, Pertinax is developing smart materials capable of delivering slow-release antiseptic to promote fast wound healing and reduce the risk of infection in both human and veterinary healthcare.

With the sustained release of antimicrobial and antifungal function, patients can experience days or even weeks of protection, compared to just a few hours in standard medical bandages.

The company is now approaching commercial partners and looking to begin commercial production over the next year – so you never know, you could be given a Pertinax bandage next time you land yourself in A&E.