North by Northwest ICURe: Early career researchers promote spin-out companies and technologies to a wider industry audience

Kirsty Smitten is an early career researcher at the University of Sheffield and the CEO and co-founder of MetalloBio, a spin-out company addressing antimicrobial resistance using novel therapeutics. Kirsty was able to promote her spin-out and technology (a series of antimicrobial ruthenium-based molecules with a broad range of applications including therapeutics and anti-biofilm coatings) on IN-PART through the North by Northwest ICURe scheme which is a UK-wide pre-accelerator program helping researchers validate business ideas with funding from Innovate UK.

Through IN-PART, Kirsty received introduction requests from R&D leads at a number of key pharmaceutical companies interested in her technology. One of these requests came from a European chemical company that provided matched funding to the tune of £10k to support a proof-of-concept study to develop a hard lacquer antimicrobial coating using Kirsty’s technology. Once this proof-of-concept study is completed later this year, the company will discuss licensing options for a specific application of the technology.

In addition, Kirsty and MetalloBio are in ongoing discussions with two leading US pharmaceutical companies that have highlighted key experiments that they have asked to see before progressing with co-development discussions. And after initial discussions, an American venture capital firm that was also introduced to Kirsty through IN-PART has expressed interest in contributing to MetalloBio’s series A funding round.

Kirsty said of the value of IN-PART in providing these contacts:

“IN-PART has been really useful in terms of networking and progressing our technology’s development. We are closer to market for specific applications of our technology because of the partnerships we have formed through IN-PART.”

Kirsty’s ICURe technology on IN-PART and the full portfolio of North by Northwest ICURe opportunities can be found here. Review the University of Sheffield’s full technology portfolio here.

Read more success profiles and case studies of partnerships initiated through IN-PART’s matchmaking platform for university-industry collaboration.

Written by Joseph Ferner. Edited by Alex Stockham. Formatting by Frances Wilkinson.

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2021: ‘ Early career researchers: Promoting spin-out companies and technologies to a wider industry audience’

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