Authors: Jesse Coker & Vassilis Ragoussis
In December 2018, the SIU organised a tour to Oxford’s brand new, cutting-edge space for innovation: The Oxford BioEscalator. Located in the heart of the Old Road Campus Research Complex, the BioEscalator is designed to foster a collaborative environment to accelerate the development of early-stage Oxford companies by providing affordable laboratory, office, and meeting spaces. Dr. Elen Wade-Martins, the Business Manager of the BioEscalator, graciously introduced us to the sparkling new facilities, which include molecular biology labs, tissue culture hoods, autoclaves, freezers, centrifuges, and storage areas - all designed with biomedical start-ups in mind. There is still space remaining in the BioEscalator, so if you have an idea and are seeking a space to innovate, look no further.
In addition to a tour of the facilities, we also had the opportunity to meet Theolytics, one of the start-ups working in the BioEscalator. CEO Charlotte Casebourne, one of Management Today’s 35 Under 35 in 2018, introduced us to the Oxford spin-out. Funded by Oxford Sciences Innovation, Theolytics uses directed evolution and custom bioinformatics to design personalized oncolytic viruses to combat cancer. Founded in 2017, Theolytics is growing rapidly under Casebourne, who credits the BioEscalator for catalyzing Theolytics’ continuing success.
We all came away incredibly impressed with both Theolytics and the BioEscalator, and we are excited to see the future impact of these exciting new players in the Oxford start-up ecosystem.