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To Get Ahead Women Bio-Entrepreneurs Do It For Themselves

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“Encouraging numbers of female bio-entrepreneurs are emerging and it’s clear they are bringing new ideas to the industry, often through founding their own companies.” This is the conclusion of Miranda Weston-Smith of BioBeat, which is launching the 50 Movers and Shakers report profiling inspirational women across the life sciences industry ahead of its conference ‘Translating Genomics into Biobusiness’ 20th November 2015 at the Wellcome Genome Campus.

The report, which provides insights into the career paths of progressive scientists, reveals that 23 of the 50 women profiled are founders or co-founders of their own companies. The majority of the remainder run their own research labs or are in service functions such as finance or public affairs.

Research by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) suggests that almost half of its UK biotech member companies have no female representation on their boards and over the last 5 years there have been few women appointed as CEOs for established companies.

Steve Bates, CEO BIA, says: “These statistics are a stark reminder that although the industry is moving forward, there is a real need to cast the net wider when recruiting and promoting staff. UK bioscience must also ensure that it offers opportunities that are going to attract the best talent.”

The 2015 Movers and Shakers report identifies women that are challenging the status quo to bring new strategies and creativity to the global healthcare industry.

Weston-Smith comments that a ‘vocational’ degree is not essential to success: “The leaders show an openness to change in an industry in major transition and that multi-disciplinary approaches offer great potential for innovation.”

Weston-Smith is particularly impressed by the quality of the ‘rising stars’.

She says: “We have 17 rising stars in the report and along with developers of disruptive technologies there are some interesting business models here that will increase access to healthcare.”

Rising Stars include: Jelena Aleksic, who founded GeneAdviser to improve access to genetic diagnostics for rare diseases; Millie Clive-Smith, co-founder of Eva Diagnostics which is providing a low-cost highly accurate test for anaemia; Liberty Foreman, co-founder of Beamline Diagnostics, developing point-of-care pre-cancer detection; and Jemma Gatliff, co-founder of Keregen, which has a new molecular technology that disrupts the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.

“Although by no means a definitive list, the Movers and Shakers report draws attention to the dynamism of women in bio-tech who are re-setting our imagination for what can be achieved,” continues Weston-Smith.

“Reviewing the strategies that these women have adopted, it is clear that they bring novel ways of building companies, working in teams and have different attitudes to risk. Encouraging this diversity will make the industry more dynamic and responsive.”

BioBeat15: Translating Genomics into Biobusiness is in association with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI. The one-day conference, which is open to all, will bring together female leaders in the bioindustry to explore the challenges and successes in starting and growing a biotech business.

BioBeat15: Translating Genomics into Biobusiness, 9.00 – 17.30 20th November 2015, Conference Centre, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1RQ,