The Cambridge ecosystem is globally recognised as a centre of academic excellence and innovation, with an incredible track record for building category leading life sciences and technology businesses. However, CIC has identified an important gap in the ecosystem: Dedicated hands on support to bridge the gap between translational research and commercialisation.

CIC has been working closely with stakeholders in the ecosystem to establish new accelerators, the first of which is Start Codon for life sciences and healthcare businesses. The goal is to speed up the process of going from “bench to product” by compressing years of learning for many companies and researchers into a short, six-month window.

To achieve these goals, the accelerator provides several value-add services including:

  • Seed funding
  • World class laboratory and working space
  • Advice on business models and “product directed discovery” from experienced, hands-on mentors and potential partners
  • Access to the high density of world-class scientists in the ecosystem that can share expertise
  • Access to a large network of investors and corporate partners

Start Codon leverages the unique resources of the Cambridge ecosystem to identify, seed-fund and drive the success of truly disruptive healthcare start-ups. It aims to disrupt monocultures and stagnation.

Start Codon focuses on supporting highly disruptive, translational innovations created by exceptional teams from across the globe, accepting a small number of exceptional applicants onto its programme. Each year ten companies to join a 6-month programme, each company receives:

  • £250k seed funding
  • Access to state-of-the-art office and lab facilities via its headquarters in the Milner Therapeutics Institute (MTI)
  • Hands on mentorship from leading industry experts and serially successful entrepreneurs
  • Support with raising a Series A fundraise through their global network of venture capital and strategic investors


Dr Jason Mellad, CEO, Start Codon

CIC was instrumental in getting Start Codon off the ground and since the launch of the first cohort, have been a great support to our portfolio companies.


Founding investors

Jonathan Milner Founder of Abcam

Ian Tomlinson Chairman of Start Codon