From Bench to Business: Accelerate Your Idea!

Sunday, May 26th 2024

11:26 – 11:26 (GMT)

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In order to continue our work towards stimulating transformation and development worldwide, IF Manchester is inviting you to the conference: 'From Bench to Business: Accelerate your idea' on the 12th of October at 6 pm local time at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School Room 3.14 (detailed address here).

There you will have a chance to meet successful business and science professionals who will share their experience and exclusive tips on how to start and accelerate YOUR OWN business.

Moreover, on that day you will witness live pitches from IMAGINE IF Accelerator programme and see, how experienced mentors will select Imagine IF Accelerator 2017 North-West winner.

The dialogue between science and business is not always as smooth as we would like it to be, it’s rather complicated and in some occasions even impossible. The difference in culture between the two fields often means that there is a lot of misunderstanding or a difference in expectations on either side. (Euroscientist, 2016) However, the increasing need for businesses to adapt and change in this fast-paced world does not leave them a way as to look for the possible connections with academia and their innovative solutions. The recent statistics on the market value and growth of the global life sciences industry show that one of the most important industries where industrial growth exist are biotechnology, medical technology and pharmacy, with the growth rates of 9.6%, 2.6% and 2.4% respectively (Deloitte, 2014). These numbers prove that possible innovation and growth can only exist by bringing academia and business together.

This is why Innovation Forum’s (IF) main goal is to close the gap and become a bridge between the core and most powerful fields. Our constant communication and network can help many to fulfil their dreams. Moreover, being based in the North West of England – Manchester, city that has a fastest economic and demographic growth of all the cities outside London and is ranked as the best city to start a business in the UK outside of the capital we welcome the worldwide change and ground-breaking ideas!

Don’t miss out such a great opportunity, register and become a part of the event that is going to change the way you think!


5.30 – 5.50 pm


5.55 – 6.05 pm

Introduction to the event and Innovation Forum (Dr Daniel Moreno-Martinez and Anastassia Bolotkova)

6.05 – 6.10 pm

Dr Graham Foxon (Director at ReMAP Consulting)

6.10 – 6.25 pm

Dr Paul Kemp

’21st Century Healthcare: a revolution in medical and commercial innovation’

We live in unprecedented and exciting times. On one hand there is the push of new breakthroughs in life sciences accelerated by the increased capabilities of the digital age and on the other the growing constraining pull of an ageing population in the industrialised world, changing global population demographics and the financial pressures of a potentially unsustainable health care demand.  How these conflicting influences may affect medical and commercial innovation and revolutionise the development and provision of medicine will be discussed.

6.25 – 6.40 pm

Dr Andy Clarke

‘Enterprise or entrepreneurship teaching; empowering scientists in the commercial world with participation of audience’

6.40 – 6.45 pm

Short Break

6.45 – 7.00 pm

Dr Nan Zhao

‘Dreams vs. realities, moving from lab to real business’

7.00 – 7.45 pm

ImagineIF! local finals

‘Finalists will present their ideas in form of a business pitch’

7.45 – 8.30 pm

Networking (drinks reception)


Paul is a recognised pioneer in the field of Regenerative Medicine and has over 25 years’ experience in the US and UK in the commercialisation of various Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy products in both public and private Companies. Over the years, he has built a successful track record in all aspects of the business, from carrying out translational research, in-licensing technologies from Universities and out-licensing products to a variety of HealthCare Companies, designing, obtaining regulatory approval and running clinical trials in the US, Canada, UK and Europe, designing, building and operating GMP facilities, founding biotech companies, and launching, marketing and selling cell based products in the US and UK. When at Organogenesis Inc he was the lead inventor on patents for the first multi-cell therapy approved by the FDA and was involved in all stages of the development of this product from the bench, through the clinical trail process, development of a licensing and marketing partnership and the eventual approval and launch in the US. This product has now treated approximately a million patients and is the largest selling manufactured cell therapy in the world. After Organogenesis, Paul returned to the UK and was the sole founder of Intercytex. He served as CEO for the first 5 years and under his leadership the company grew rapidly, attracted significant VC investment from Europe, the US and Asia. During this period Intercytex developed several products that reached the clinic, including the world's first cell therapy clinical trial to induce new hair formation. Paul has numerous patents and publications in the field and is invited to speak at International Conferences and sit on a variety of panels, grant funding bodies and regulatory committees. He is co-editor of the Journal of Regenerative Medicine, a co-Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine at Manchester University and Industrial Director of Regener8.

Andy has BEng (Hons) degree in Mechanical Design, Materials and Manufacture from the University of Nottingham, MSc in Metallic and Ceramic Materials from the University of Manchester, and PhD in Metallurgy & Materials Science from UMIST.
He then moved to Sheffield and worked in the steel industry as a consultant, during which time he completed an MBA in Industrial Management at Sheffield Hallam University.

Andy returned to academia in 2007 where I have worked at the Universities of Manchester, Lancaster and Salford in Business Development. During my career he has been awarded Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and Chartered Engineer.
During his career he has started 3 companies as the owner and Director: one in TV production; one podcast radio network; and one as a Scientific Consultant. The third company is still operating and is profitable.

He teaches level 6 and level 7 programmes across the School of Environment & Life Sciences focusing on the business and commercial issues relating to the sciences. He develops and delivers enterprise and entrepreneurship taught content at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, providing the business context to students' academic studies. Andy aims to offer science students an appreciation of how their work fits in a business environment, whether that is a new business start-up or a large corporation; he aims to empower science students to be more valuable to the business they will work for as opposed to how to start their own business.

Nan Zhao has trained in chemical engineering, chemistry, and biotechnology, across China, the EU and US. Her R&D activities and 5 published research articles have been commercialised with worldwide application in the specialty chemicals sector. She has pursued a broad trans-national interest and has served as Treasurer of the Cambridge University Arab Society between 2010-11.

Her career has followed a multi-functional cross-sector training in advanced materials and industrial biotechnology sectors. Following her specialisation in R&D and scientific instrumentation handling, she then successfully competed for professional services roles in the finance and assurance sector before launching Sinan Compass Ltd as China Director.

Born in Qingdao, Shandong Province, she has built a professional and personal network across China’s rapidly changing business landscape.

Sinan Compass Ltd., a specialised boutique M&A and exporting services firm. The international team focus on B2B trade among small-cap SMEs in: Healthcare, Smart Cities, & Media.

Claire Browns 20 year professional career spans academic research, R&D leadership at three global biopharmaceutical companies and Venture capital.

She is currently responsible for the investment activity of Biocity Group Ltd which includes the management of Alderley Park Ventures, a Healthcare focused Seed fund, and sits on the board of several early stage businesses.

Prior to joining Biocity Group, Claire held a variety of Scientific and Strategy/Business Development roles in the UK and USA in several large organisations including UCB, Genzyme and AstraZeneca-MedImmune including MediVentures, a corporate £400M investment fund.

Claire currently holds a BSc(Hons), a PhD and an MBA having completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Tennessee Medical Centre in the USA. Recently Claire also completed her Investment Management Certification.

As an experienced Biotechnology executive with over 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, I have acquired broad scientific, business and commercial capabilities and have formed a strong understanding of risk and value within the industry. I have had the enormous privilege of developing and benefiting from an extensive professional network. I find real pleasure in working with talented people to drive creative ideas forward. I have recently set-up two companies capable of exploiting the experience and capabilities I have taken from the industry and applying them in an entrepreneurial setting

Key skills & capabilities
- Influencing and negotiation skills demonstrated with senior leaders and executives.
- Strong financial acumen relating to investment metrics and indices within the healthcare sector.
- Demonstrated strong judgement in setting strategic direction.
- Deep insight of the commercial and business drivers of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.
- Ability to apply a fresh and entrepreneurial approach to problem solving.

Martino is the first CEO of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst an ambitious concept to develop an Incubator and Accelerator, followed by a world class Science Park for the Life Sciences sector. Martino has a PhD in Biochemistry from Cardiff University and spent 4 years at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX in Cardiovascular research. Martino joined Amersham International in 1991 and subsequently went on to manage the R&D Technology Transfer Group, based in Cardiff and developing high throughput screening technologies for the Pharmaceutical sector. Following the merger of Amersham with Pharmacia Biotech, Martino became the Science Director for the Cardiff site, Martino then became a Business Manager for Manchester Biotech Ltd. and subsequently Manchester Innovation Ltd. in June 1999. When the Universities of Manchester and UMIST merged, he became Managing Director of UMIC and MICL and was a Board member of UKBI. Martino was also acting Chairman for a start-up company, sri Forensics Ltd (2011-2014) and has previously been on the Board of Cartesian Technologies , BIONOW Steering Committee and was also a non -executive Director for Queen Mary Bioenterprise Ltd (2009-Aug 2010).. Martino has recently been a Board member of the Hertfordshire LEP. Most recently, Martino has been on the Trust Board for the North Herts Studio Schools (Stevenage, Letchworth and Thomas Alleyne Schools) and on the Local Governing Body for the Da Vinci Studio School Stevenage. Martino has also been appointed to the Life Science Wales Hub Board as a Non –Executive) and was recently therecipient of a Herts Chamber of Commerce award for “outstanding contribution to Herts Business “ (May 2014). Martino is also on the assessment panels for CRACK-IT (NC3Rs) and TSB (now Innovate UK) Biomedical Catalyst Funding respectively.

David has a background in biochemistry, immunology and molecular biology with a PhD from Imperial College, London and three years of post-doctoral experience. David has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 20 years. He worked in big pharma at AstraZeneca for more than 17 years in a wide variety of R&D roles both in the UK and the US. Whilst at AstraZeneca he was heavily involved in developing the use of informatics and systems biology to support the development of new medicines. David joined Blueberry Therapeutics as Chief Scientific Officer at the start of 2014. In this role, he is responsible for leading the research activities of the business which are focused on developing new treatments for serious infectious diseases. The first of these treatments has now entering clinical testing.

Laura is Enterprise and Business Development Manager at UMIP, The University of Manchester’s Technology Transfer office. As part of the Enterprise Team, Laura manages the Innovation Optimiser Programme which empowers staff, academic and research student innovators from across the University to create start-up businesses. By providing a supportive environment with educational learning and agile mentoring, Laura helps entrepreneurs gain the confidence and understanding of the underlying principles to establish their businesses.
In parallel to this Laura was recently seconded on a part time basis to Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) to act as Commercial Manager (interim) at Manchester Health Ventures Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary established to manage the portfolio of intellectual property assets.
Laura has a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry from The University of Manchester and spent 5 years as a postdoctoral research associate on marine natural products and latterly on fluorescent probes for molecular diagnostics.

Ian has over 20 years’ experience of working with companies in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device sectors across the UK, Europe, Asia and North America.
As Managing Director of IDACO Consulting, Ian works with universities and companies to provide solution-focused drug/device development, technical due diligence and in-licensing/out-licensing business development support.
Ian is also the co-founder and CEO of a virtual pharma company, Zebra Therapeutics Limited, established to further the development of a potential treatment for NASH.
Prior to this, Ian was the Vice-President of Research & Early-Stage Development at a European pharmaceutical company. He has also worked in Regulatory Affairs, Project Management and the CRO industry.
Ian studied Microbiology & Virology at the University of Warwick and also has a Masters degree in Toxicology from Birmingham University.

Twitter: @IDACOConsulting

Following an extensive career as a senior commercial leader in big pharma Tony is now a director of two University of Manchester spinouts, one of which he is CEO.

In forming these companies Tony has travelled the journey from creating a business plan, licensing of the IP into the spinout, raising investment and signing a commercialisation partner.

In both spinouts Tony brought his commercial leadership and business experience to complement the skills, knowledge and talents of the founding academics.

Additionally, Tony works in a consulting, contracting or mentoring capacity with spinout founders, academics and IP managers at several UK universities, engaging with many technology-based spinout businesses and pre-spinout university projects.

Originally coming from Estonia, Anastassia moved to the UK to pursue a degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Manchester. Throughout the studies, she has completed several summer internships in Estonia, UK and Germany, where she was involved in the cancer research. Her strong interest in science and particularly oncology allowed her to win a scholarship and to complete Masters in Translational Medicine at the same university.

Anastassia has always wanted to work within the pharmaceutical sector and thus, after completing the degrees, She moved into the industry by being a Pharma Analyst at Global Business Intelligence and Safety Screening Scientist at AstraZeneca.

Currently, Anastassia works for a company specialising in the personalised medicine and particularly, the production of cancer immunotherapy for melanoma patients. This is the most challenging and exciting role she has ever had as nothing is more rewarding than the ability to help people to extend their lives and to beat cancer sooner.

Anastassia immensely enjoys writing and therefore, voluntarily produces scientific articles for FastBleep and the news for BioNews. She also likes meeting and communicating with people. In addtion, she enjoys having an active lifestyle and in her free time.

Daniel is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Manchester Metropolitan University, where he investigates the effects of Ibrutinib, a Bruton's Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor, on platelet and endothelial cells in the context of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Interested in entrepreneurship through leadership and innovation, Daniel has many years of experience working with stakeholders and leading international teams: he was Vice-chairman of the Young European Biotechnology Network, where he was also Chief Communication Officer and an Executive Board member. He has participated in the organisation of many scientific and outreach meetings in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Spain.

Daniel is also a co-opted committee member of the British Society for Cardiovascular Research, where he is working in stablishing an online presence for the society.


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