BIA Start-up Festival 2022

  • 09:00 - 18:30, 19 May 22 - 20 May 22
  • Online
  • Print page
Start up Festival tile.JPG

The BIA are delighted to announce the return of the Start-up Festival in 2022, which will take place virtually in May. 

Expanded to 2 days, the event will bring together the best of rising talent in the sector for a day of informative sessions designed to build on your existing knowledge and allow you to learn from peers and established industry experts alike, followed by a day of 1-2-1 meetings with potential mentors, collaborators and investors.

Attendees will be able to connect through the platform with both peers and potential advisors for meetings and informal networking.

Please note: The Start-up Festival is intended for the leadership of early-stage companies to learn from each other and from invited thought leaders in the sector. In order to ensure a critical mass of startup entrepreneurs, we are limiting numbers of service providers, beyond those sponsoring and supporting the event.


This event is free to attend however attendance is restricted to attendees from start-up companies, entrepreneurs in the life sciences, and invited industry experts. 

In order to ensure a critical mass of startup entrepreneurs, we are limiting numbers of service providers, beyond those sponsoring and supporting the event.


Thursday 19th May 2022

09:30 - 10:15     Workshop 1 - Aligning IP strategy with your business goals

  • Michael Newton, Associate, Kilburn & Strode

10:15 - 10:30     BIA introduction

  • Steve Bates, CEO, BIA

10:30 - 11:30     Session 1 - Deals with big pharma - when, why and how?

  • Fintan Walton, Chairman and CEO,  PharmaVentures
  • Laura Ferguson, Director, BD, Licensing and Strategy, AstraZeneca
  • Michalis Papadakis, CEO, Brainomix
  • Jonathan Savidge, CEO, Syndesi
  • Jennifer Bell, Senior Director, Immunology Scientific Licensing, J&J Innovation

11:30 - 12:15     Workshop 2 - Thinking Big: Key considerations for your lab when growing, scaling and outsourcing. 

  • Arfan Nazir, Lab Planner, Project Lead UK & Ireland, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Linda Brooks, Research Services Manager, EMEA, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Phillippa Swinden, Snr District Manager - North Region Biotech and Pharma, Thermo Fisher Scientific

12:15 - 13:15     Session 2 - Practical tips for getting investor-ready

  • Karolina Zapadka, Investment Manager, Parkwalk Advisors
  • Kate Rowley, General Partner, Global Bio Fund
  • George Foot, Founder & Co-CEO, Sixfold
  • Sarah Bruce-White, Partnerships & Programmes Lead, MedCity

13:15 - 14:00     Workshop 3 - Building your board

  • Carmelo Bisognano, Investor and New Companies Relations Lead, Virdis

14:00 - 15:00     Session 3 - Your route to market and regulatory challenges

  • Harm Niederlaender, Sartorius
  • Andrew Fox, VP Regulatory Affairs, Safety & Medical Science, PsiOxus
  • Jacqueline Barry, Chief Clinical Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
  • Simon Chandler, CEO and Director, Rinri Therapeutics

15:00 - 15:45     Workshop 4 - Negotiating term sheets with VCs

  • Oliver Pumfrey, Managing Director, FTI Consulting
  • Ross McNaughton, Partner, Taylor Wessing
  • Nell Cooper, Associate, Taylor Wessing

15:45 - 16:45     Session 4 - Incubators vs accelerators: the founder experience

  • Barbara Domayne-Hayman, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, The Francis Crick Institute
  • George Frodsham, Founder & CEO, Medisieve
  • Myriam Ouberai, CEO and Founder, Spirea
  • James Duboff, CEO and Founder, Medusa Pharmaceuticals
  • Federico Paoletti, CEO & Co-Founder, Exogene

Friday 20th May 2022

09:00 - 17:00    1-2-1 virtual meetings      

Carmelo Bisognano

Investor and New Companies Relations Lead


Carmelo brings a diversified experience as researcher, entrepreneur, venture partner and leader of international incubators and accelerators of startups.

Prior to co-found and lead MassChallenge Switzerland as Managing Director, he served as Head of Strategy at Inartis Foundation for promoting innovation in Switzerland. He also founded and managed several companies such as Easymed Services Inc. (EZM:CN) and Dybaw Advisory SA.

Since joining VirdisGroup in 2021, Carmelo has focused on developing Invest Connect, a new service for startups and investors aiming at helping new ventures to successfully grow (funding, business development, operations).

Carmelo obtained his PhD from the University Hospital of Geneva where he was awarded for his research work and co-signed publications in international scientific journals. With an extensive experience in the life science innovation ecosystem and fluent in three languages, he helps clients build and grow their innovative companies.

Jacqueline Barry 1 x 1.jpg
Dr Jacqueline Barry

Chief Clinical Officer

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

Jacqueline joined Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult as Director of Regulatory Affairs and has since been promoted to Chief Clinical Officer.

Prior to this Jacqueline worked at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in a number of senior regulatory and quality positions, the responsibility for which included designing the regulatory strategy for the Cellular Therapies developed by the Blood Transfusion Service, acting as Responsible Person for Blood and Qualified Person for medicinal product release. Before that she held a number of post-Doctoral academic posts at the University of Edinburgh studying neuromuscular regeneration. She has considerable experience in the development, translation, clinical trial and approval of cell based medicinal products and therapies.

Jennifer Bell.png
Jennifer Bell

Senior Director, Immunology Scientific Licensing

Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Jennifer Bell is Senior Director, Immunology Scientific Licensing in Janssen Business Development. In this global role, Jennifer works to identify, evaluate and execute external partnership opportunities to grow Janssen’s Immunology portfolio. Previously, Jennifer was based in the J&J London Innovation centre as Senior Director, Immunology Scientific Innovation where she engaged the academic and biotech ecosystem in Europe to established new, early stage collaborations to advance Janssen’s Immunology portfolio and strategy. Prior to joining J&J, Jennifer spent five years at Roche Pharmaceutical Research & Early Development working in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases therapeutic areas leading internal and external collaboration and stakeholder engagement. As Director of External Engagement, she led the development of a new Roche incubator for immunology discovery. Before this, Jennifer was Research Director of patient organization the Lupus Research Institute (now Lupus Research Alliance) where she was responsible for research strategy and industry partnership. The first phase of her career was in scientific publishing, as a founding editor of Nature Reviews Immunology in London and then as Executive Editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine in New York. She has a PhD in Immunology from the University of Edinburgh, and a BSc in Immunology from University of Glasgow.

Linda Brooks.png
Linda Brooks

Research Services Manager, EMEA

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Linda is an experienced Manager at Thermofisher Scientific with 25 years experience managing multiple portfolios including Gateway Technology and Research Services.

Sarah Bruce-White.png
Sarah Bruce-White

Partnerships & Programmes Lead


Sarah drives our Investment Hub activities, nurturing SME growth, and helping international companies land in the region. Sarah is passionate about developing a digital, data and AI network to help deliver innovation, make an impact, and connect the excellence in the region.

With many years commercial experience in launching medical device companies internationally and bringing new products to market, Sarah’s expertise encompass successfully raising investment, developing teams, market access, IP, clinical trials, evidence generation, regulatory knowledge and distribution networks.

Nell Cooper.png
Nell Cooper


Taylor Wessing

Nell is an associate in the Corporate Technology and Life Sciences team.

She advises investors and technology-focused companies on venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions and spin-outs. She has a particular interest in advising companies operating in the Fintech and E-Commerce sectors.

Simon Chandler.jpg
Simon Chandler


Rinri Therapeutics

Simon has deep sector knowledge and in-depth experience of the biotech sector and a strong understanding of the advanced therapeutics landscape having spent most of his career within the blue-chip companies in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Simon joins Rinri Therapeutics from IP Group plc. the specialist early-stage technology venture capital firm where he worked to identify transformative, world-leading investment opportunities from partner University IP portfolios and to then work in tandem with founder teams to build exciting early-stage spin-out technology companies. This included broad exposure to the life science market across AI-diagnostics, medical devices, oesteogenesis, synthetic biology and anti-virals. He was attracted to Rinri by the high calibre nature of the research findings with early but compelling preclinical data showing dramatic restoration of hearing in ontological disease models that clearly demonstrated the potential for the technology to make a real-world impact on patients and healthcare systems. This all made Rinri an exciting prospect to build a pioneering early-stage biotechnology company. Simon received his BSc. (Hons.) from Leeds University and holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of York and holds CIM qualifications.

Barbara Domayne-Hayman

Entrepreneur-in-residence, Francis Crick Institute; CBO, Autifony Therapeutics Ltd

Francis Crick Institute

Barbara has worked on the commercial side of life sciences for thirty years, first in a large organisation (ICI/Zeneca/AstraZeneca), before transitioning to the entrepreneurial world of biotech.

Barbara joined the Francis Crick Institute in January 2018 as Entrepreneur-in-residence, where amongst other things, she leads an accelerator programme called KQ Labs, which is focused on start-ups from all over the UK who are making use of data/AI applied to health. She is also Chief Business officer of Autifony, where she is responsible for strategic partnering, fundraising and commercial aspects of drug development for CNS disorders. Barbara was also Chair of Puridify, a UCL spin-out with a breakthrough biotherapeutics purification technology, which was acquired by GE (now Cytiva) in November 2017. She chairs the LifeArc Seed Fund investment committee, and is on the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Fund Investment Committee.

Previously, Barbara was CEO of Stabilitech, and she was Commercial Director at Arrow Therapeutics until the company was acquired by AstraZeneca. Barbara was also Senior Business Development Manager at Celltech.

Barbara has a BA and D Phil in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, and is a Sloan Fellow from London Business School.

James Duboff.jpg
Dr James Duboff

CEO & Co-Founder

Medusa Therapeutics

James Duboff is the co-founder and CEO of Medusa Pharmaceuticals. He has worked in large pharma (GSK) and R&D management in global consumer health (P&G), as well as in genomics focussed SMEs, currently working as Strategic Partnerships Director at Genomics England. James graduated with an Undergraduate Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Microbial Genetics from the University of Cambridge.

Laura Ferguson new.JPG
Dr Laura Ferguson

Director, BD, Licensing and Strategy


Laura works in the Enabling Platform Technologies team of the Business Development team within AZ R&D. Her role involves developing external alliances between AZ and the wider life science ecosystem though search, evaluation, and transactions for all aspects of partnering, in-licensing and out-licensing early stage technologies, with a focus on supporting the biolojic R&D and Emerging Innovations teams within AZ.

Laura works extensively with start-up incubators and accelerators both in her role with, and is on the translational research funding committee for the University of Oxford, where she is also an industry Expert in Residence.

Before joining AstraZeneca Laura worked for the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Fund helping to spin out and finance life science companies from the University of Cambridge. Prior to that Laura ran the UK operations of a life science focused equity crowdfunding platform for two years, during which time she led activities in business development, marketing and fundraising. Laura has a background as an academic biologist at Oxford and Cambridge in molecular evolutionary genetics.

George Foot.jpg
Dr George Foot


Sixfold Bioscience

George is Co-founder of Sixfold Bioscience, a biotech that utilises advanced nanoengineering to create safer and more targeted systems for the delivery of RNA therapies. Prior to Sixfold, George completed his PhD at Cambridge University.

Andrew fox.jpg
Andrew Fox

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Safety & Medical Science

PsiOxus Therapeutics

Andrew Fox is Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Safety & Medical Science at PsiOxus Therapeutics, a clinical stage oncology company pioneering systemic immune oncology vectors that drive sustained reprogramming of the tumour microenvironment to overcome the central challenge of resistance to cancer therapy. Andrew has broad experience in the technical and regulatory aspects of the manufacture and control of biologics and biotechnology products and in clinical development for a variety of therapeutic areas including oncology, rheumatology and biosimilars. Andrew has previously held positions with several small and large companies including AstraZeneca, Exelixis, Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Amgen. He has experience working in both the United States and European regulatory systems.

George Frodsham

Chief Executive Officer


George Frodsham is the Founder and CEO of MediSieve Limited, a UCL spinout company developing “magnetic blood filtration”: a revolutionary treatment for blood-borne diseases which removes pathogens directly from the bloodstream. George founded MediSieve after his PhD in Biochemical Engineering, during which he developed the magnetic blood filter that MediSieve is commercialising. With a background in Physics and Engineering, George is now an experienced entrepreneur.

Since founding MediSieve in 2015, George has raised a total of £2M from investors and about £500k worth of grants, taking the technology through in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical trials, with first human clinical trials planned for 2018. He was awarded a BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub, having completed the Enterprise Fellowship programme after being runner up in the ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award. He has also completed the Entrepreneurship Summer School programme at the London Business School, and is a winner of a number of entrepreneurship competitions, including [email protected], MassChallenge and CMS Healthcare Startup of the Year.

Ross McNaughton


Taylor Wessing

Ross is a partner in the Corporate Technology & Life Sciences team and a lead partner within the firm's Tier 1-ranked Biotechnology practice in Cambridge. His practice involves helping life sciences and technology companies as they progress through their life cycle in all aspects of their growth, capital raising and international expansion. As a sector specialist, Ross focuses on biotech, medical devices and diagnostics within Life Sciences, and with the Tech sector supports companies operating in the capital intensive deep tech space, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, advanced materials, as well as web3.

Ross has extensive experience of a variety of venture and growth financing, public capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate advice. Ross was based out of San Francisco, CA in 2018 – 19 and as a result, he has a particular expertise in transactions with a transatlantic component. He is an English qualified solicitor and registered foreign legal consultant in California.

Arfan Nazir.jpeg
Arfan Nazir

Lab Planner, Project Lead UK & Ireland

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Arfran has been at Thermo Fisher scientific for 6 years managing large scale projects/new builds across UK and Ireland. Day to day relate with and form high level relationships with lab architects, general contractors and laboratory designers.

Michael Newton


Kilburn & Strode

Michael is an Associate in the Life Sciences and Chemistry team specialising in biotechnology, therapeutics and diagnostics. He has particular expertise in the fields of antibody technology, cell culture, cell therapy, bioinformatics, computational biology, genomic medicine and synthetic biology. Michael enjoys working at the intersection of technology fields such as in digital healthcare and AI-driven drug discovery.

He gained valuable in-house experience through a secondment to Kymab Ltd in 2020/2021. This enhanced his ability to help to solve in-house problems, this includes providing IP training.

His work for Kilburn & Strode focusses on drafting and prosecuting patent applications, providing strategic advice on filing strategies and portfolio management, and coordinating international prosecution of complex patent portfolios. In addition, Michael is regularly involved in post-grant opposition procedures before the European Patent Office.

Michael’s PhD applied cell and molecular biology approaches to assess the role of one gene in the developing murine nervous system. Michael graduated with a First Class degree in Biochemistry from Southampton University, where he was awarded the 'Biochemistry Prize' for best aggregate performance.

Michael prides himself on providing pragmatic, commercially-minded advice, tailoring his guidance to suit each client.

Harm Nie.jpg
Harm Niederländer

Platform Development Specialist


Harm Niederländer is an all-round (bio)pharmaceutical and life sciences professional with a bio-analytical background and a talent for organizing and managing multidisciplinary complex projects and multi-stakeholder programs. Dr. Niederländer has over 20 years of experience in various positions in pharmaceutical industry and academia. In the most recent 10 to 15 years of his career, Dr. Niederländer has been engaged in management of an extensive number of biopharmaceutical projects focused on chimeric viral vectors for vaccine, oncological and gene therapy applications. In addition, Dr. Niederländer has been working on a number of projects focused on monoclonal Antibodies for oncological and inflammatory processes related applications.

Projects completed include vector development, clone selection, process development, upscaling, transfer and confirmation, and (pre)-clinical (GMP) production of drug substances and drug products. Dr. Niederländer has played a significant role in definition of CMC regulatory tracks in these projects including definition of critical quality attributes and critical process parameters related to product safety, efficacy, and quality. In this context, Dr. Niederländer has contributed to various IND / IMPD dossiers for Phase I/II clinical trials.

Myriam Ouberai.png
Myriam Ouberai

CEO and Founder


Myriam Ouberai is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Spirea and has significant experience in drug delivery and biopharmaceuticals from both academia and industry. Prior to Spirea, Myriam was a Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Cambridge. Myriam holds a PhD in Chemistry from Université Grenoble Alpes.

Spirea is an exciting UK-based biotech company spun-out from the University of Cambridge and focused on the development of novel antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The company is using its high drug-to-antibody ratio technology to significantly improve ADC efficacy and tolerability in order to generate an exciting pipeline of differentiated, superior and stable biotherapeutics to radically improve the treatment of patients with hard-to-treat cancers.

Michalis Papadakis (low res).jpg
Michalis Papadakis

CEO & Co-Founder


Dr Michalis Papadakis is the CEO and co-founder of Brainomix. He leads the management team, commercial strategy, fund raising, and corporate partnerships. He has grown the company from the ground up, building the company’s global presence and has raised more than £30 million of private investment and public funding. When he founded Brainomix he was the Scientific Director of the preclinical stroke lab at the University of Oxford. He has a BSc Honours in Biochemistry from Imperial College London and a PhD in neurosciences from UCL School of Pharmacy. He has been an invited speaker at international scientific and innovation conferences.

Federico Paoletti



Federico is the CEO and co-founder of Exogene, an Oxford-based biotech company developing novel T-cell receptor-based cell therapies to treat advanced solid tumours, by combining AI, deep sequencing and high-throughput T-cell receptor screening in the lab. Federico successfully closed Exogene's $2M funding round earlier this year, and negotiated Exogene's commercial collaboration with Immunocore, the most advanced company in the space.

Federico completed his PhD at Oxford University in molecular cancer research and had his work featured on the cover of the EMBO Journal. He later worked at the World Health Organization to improve cancer prevention strategies. In 2019 he joined Entrepreneur First (a pre-idea, pre-team accelerator in London) where he met his co-founder, machine learning scientist Dr Andrea Mambrini to build Exogene from scratch. In 2020-2021, his team also participated in the highly competitive Creative Destruction Labs and KQ Labs accelerator programmes.

Oliver Pumfrey.jpg
Oliver Pumfrey

Managing Director

FTI Consulting

Oliver Pumfrey manages the Life Sciences Tax team and has over 17 years of experience.

Latterly Oliver worked in industry where he was responsible for all taxes across the EMEA region for a multinational US listed group.

Prior to that, Oliver spent 10 years with PwC, working across a number of tax areas including corporate tax, employment taxes and the tax technical knowledge team.

Oliver supports Life Sciences clients across a range of tax matters including R&D incentive claims for large enterprises and SMEs and related transactional advice and planning. He also advises on the Enterprise Investment Scheme, licensing of intellectual property rights and Patent Box elections in regards to optimal timing and the potential benefits.

Kate Rowley.jpg 1
Kate Rowley

General Partner

Global Bio Fund

Dr Kate Rowley is an independent consultant for Symmetrist and a General Partner at Global Bio Fund, a investment fund targeting support to women led businesses in Bio. With over 25 years of life science experience working in both the public and private healthcare sector she advises companies developing innovative science and technology with the potential to transform healthcare.

Kate has a deep history of commercialisation of Life Sciences with experience in investor, founder and non-executive director roles across a variety of businesses in med tech, digital health and drug discovery/development.

Jonathan Savidge


Syndesi Therapeutics

Jonathan joined Syndesi Therapeutics as founding CEO in 2018, raised €26M in financing and oversaw the sale of the company to AbbVie in March 2022. He has over 20 years of experience in the biotech/pharma industry, focusing on execution and management of numerous varied collaborations for the development of novel therapeutics. Prior to becoming founding CEO of Syndesi, he spent 4 years heading business development for Proximagen, leading several deals including a significant collaboration with Roche on a Phase II program in pain. Previously he spent 5 years with Evotec as VP Business Development, executing several deals on clinical phase CNS assets with Roche and Janssen. Jonathan has also worked as a business development consultant with several other biotech companies including Bicycle Therapeutics (leading the company’s first out-licensing deal), Syntaxin (acquired by Ipsen) and ReNeuron. Jonathan started his business development career as a consultant at PharmaVentures and has a scientific background, holding a research position at Novartis in pain research following his PhD in Neuropharmacology.

Philippa Swinden.jpeg
Philippa Swinden

Snr District Manager - North Region Biotech and Pharma

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Fintan Waltan.jpg
Fintan Walton

CEO and Founder


Dr Fintan Walton founded PharmaVentures, a premier transaction advisory firm and a leading international company in partnering, M&A deals and strategic alliances.

Over a period of three decades, Fintan has built PharmaVentures into a global player in supporting transactions for blue chip corporations and emerging innovator corporations. In that time, the firm has delivered more than 1,000 transaction related assignments for companies in 38 countries. Clients have included major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as diversified chemical corporations, medical device, generic and OTC companies. Its clients have also included major banks, investment/merchant banks, as well as private equity and venture capital groups.

Dr Walton majored in Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he also gained a Ph.D. Prior to his entrepreneurial activities at PharmaVentures, Fintan had built his R&D and commercial experience in biotechnology within management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).

In 1996, he also founded PharmaDeals, the leading database and publishing business related to deal making data and analytics. Thousands of customers from around the world either bought or subscribed to these PharmaDeals publications. The PharmaDeals business was sold to IMS Health (now IQVIA) in Aug 2012.

Dr Karolina Zapadka .jpg
Dr Karolina Zapadka

Investment Manager


Karolina has nearly a decade of experience in building life sciences and healthcare companies within the Cambridge Cluster. She played a pivotal role in securing pre-seed and seed investment from a stellar syndicate of investors. In 2018 she co-founded and successfully delivered the first life sciences startup accelerator with a portfolio of 20 early-stage ventures in Cambridge. She started her career as a scientist at a leading biopharmaceutical company delivering a portfolio of products to clinics.

Karolina completed a PhD in biophysics (diabetes & neurosciences) from the University of Cambridge and carried out a drug development postdoc work at AstraZeneca.


Supporter Opportunities

There are a number of opportunities to support the event and raise your profile with the start-up community. 

Contact us for further details and to discuss the best opportunity for your organisation:

Samantha Care, Events Manager - [email protected]


Headline supporter:


Event supporters:

Johnson & Johnson IC_Innovation_Logo_RGB_virtical_300dpi.png Thermofisher.png 1 Sartorius-Logo-RGB-Positiv-300dpi.png

Event partners:

MedCity_Master Logo_Colour_RGB (Transparent).png Babraham Research Campus logo 200x200 P4.png KQ LABS.JPG