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IndieBio, world’s first SynBio accelerator, returns to UCC

28 Jul 2016
Pictured: The team at Spira, one of the 13 global start-ups on IndieBio EU's 2016 programme at the School of Microbiology. Photo: Brendan O'Leary.

IndieBio EU, the world’s first and only synthetic biology accelerator, has attracted some of the best startups from across the globe to UCC’s School of Microbiology for its 2016 programme. 

The IndieBio EU programme is designed to support individuals and companies with an early stage prototype, investing in them with cash, laboratory space, technical and academic support in the School of Microbiology, and mentorship from top experts in industry, to develop them into viable companies.

Thirteen global start-ups, from North America, Canada, South America, Europe and Ireland, are currently located in Cork and working with the IndieBio team, SOSV and a global network of mentors and advisers to bring the companies from early stage concepts to investment-ready companies.

According to Bill Liao, co-founder of IndieBio and European venture partner for SOSV, “IndieBio carefully selects teams from around the world who have the potential and the capacity to create world-changing biotech solutions for problems that were previously seen as intractable. “SOSV created IndieBio as a way to attract world-class companies in the field of synthetic biology into Ireland and Cork.”

While synthetic biology exists at the intersection of science, technology and engineering, the IndieBio teams work closely with industry and academic partners such as UCC in Cork.

"This is a fantastic development for the School of Microbiology, UCC, Cork and Ireland. Synthetic biology is one of the great revolutions in life sciences and we are delighted to support this imaginative and innovative initiative," said Professor Gerald F. Fitzgerald, Head of the School of Microbiology, UCC.

According to Liao, “the IndieBio accelerator programme is the first of its kind in the world in the field of life sciences and Cork was chosen for a very good reason. Ireland and Cork are extremely well resourced in the area of life sciences and key academic partners plus support from Enterprise Ireland in Cork gives startups a competitive advantage, he said.”

“Synthetic biology is helping scientists provide groundbreaking solutions to some of the most complex issues around the globe and technical advances now mean that many more projects are now possible due to reduction in the cost and time required to get concepts from the laboratory to the marketplace,” he added.

The companies will showcase their business strategies and developments this Thursday at their Demo Dinner and Summer Party, taking place in the Cork Gaol this Thursday (July 28) from 5pm until late. Tickets for the event, which is nearly sold out, are available from Eventbrite.

This year’s IndieBio EU companies:

Anú Dairy is an Irish dairy biotechnology company producing probiotics that will increase vitamin K2 content in milk, adding value to the functional food dairy market.

Kevin Kennedy, CEO:

Hexafly IS an Irish company producing a sustainable and natural solution to the looming fish feed crisis in aquaculture.

Alvan Hunt, CEO:


MicroSynbiotiX, Ltd. is an Irish company developing novel oral vaccines for aquaculture. Their vaccines will help to eliminate the unnecessary use of antibiotics, and combat devastating viral outbreaks causing major stock losses in aquaculture globally.

Simon Jegan, CEO:


Chinova Bioworks is a Canadian company revolutionising the beverage industry by developing a natural, safe and effective antimicrobial cocktail mixture, protecting beverages from spoilage and enhancing their shelf-life. 

Natasha Dhayagude, CEO:


Magenta BioLabs is a Costa Rican company providing a solution for the growing demand of high quality hyaluronic acid, producing this high value molecule for commercial applications such as cosmetics, healthcare and pharma. 

Rafael Lobo Marín, CEO:


Uira BioenergEthic is a holistic biotechnology company committed to making animal-free Omega-3 nutraceuticals.

Francesco Cornalba, CEO:


Cell Reserves is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing a biomolecular shield for therapeutic molecules to improve the longevity of therapeutic drugs in the human body.

Ravinder Sardana, CEO:


Moirai Biodesign is a Spanish molecular diagnostics company pioneering the development of Plug-and-Play RNA devices.

Amadís Pagès Pinós, CEO:


Milis Bio is an Irish protein bio-engineering company whose team believes that our relationship

with flavour doesn't have to be bitter-sweet. We are developing sensational protein-based
food additives, without the drawbacks of traditional or contemporary additives.

Michael Sheehan, CEO:


Crónicas is an Ecuadorian company, developing novel crops resistant to common and virulent infections.

Juan Robalino, CEO:


Peer-to-Peer Probiotics is a French company engineering nutrient-fortified microbes for traditional fermented products.

Prateek Garg, CEO:


Spira is an American company that makes a high-protein shake based on spirulina, a tasty microalgae that thrives in the bottle; just add sunlight.

Elliot Roth, CEO:


Helixworks is an Indian biotechnology company specialising in novel gene foundry technology.


Nimesh Chandra, CEO:

School of Microbiology

Scoil na Micribhitheolaíochta

Microbiology Office, Room FSB452, 4th Floor Food Science & Technology Building, University College Cork, Cork T12 Y337