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Oxford AHSN launches second year of start-up accelerator programme

CanSense Accelerator award

CanSense won the Best Presentation award at the Oxford AHSN Accelerator 2019 pitch day

The Oxford AHSN and BioCity today launch the second year of the Oxford AHSN Accelerator Programme aimed at identifying and developing innovative and sustainable solutions to proven NHS needs and the commercial ambitions of investors.

The Oxford AHSN invites start-ups and innovators with pioneering technologies and disruptive ideas to improve health outcomes to join its programme during which innovators will test their concepts with expert mentors from industry, investment and healthcare and help them with key issues including customer discovery and routes to commercialisation, partnership and impact at scale.

After a selection process around ten start-ups will work with the programme team during an eight-week Accelerator programmme. Innovators will get support from industry mentors to swiftly grow their business, fine tune products and business development efforts, build relevant networks, and develop customer connections and industry insights.

Vineeta Tripathi, Dravya Discovery

Vineeta Tripathi, Dravya Discovery

After completion of the first Oxford AHSN Accelerator Programme in November 2019, two start-up companies with the strongest business proposition were chosen for further investment and support by delivery partner BioCity. BioCity is providing £50,000 of in-kind support each to CanSense, which has developed a blood test to detect bowel cancer, and Dravya Discoveries, which offers drug discovery services for eye disorders.

Adam Bryant of CanSense, said: “The Oxford AHSN programme, through its great mentors, network and speakers has helped us to develop our business strategy, defined through rigorous analysis and testing of our assumptions. It has also helped to generally improve our entrepreneurial skills. I encourage other future start-ups to join!”

Vineeta Tripathi of Dravya Discovery, said: “The Oxford AHSN Accelerator Programme has been a steep learning curve challenging us to go beyond our comfort zone. Because of this programme, we increased our focus on actively engaging with potential customers, which made us realise that we needed to pivot to ensure that our services were being directed to the appropriate customers and that our offerings aligned with their needs. The programme has helped us fine tune our value proposition, thereby ensuring that we are ready to pitch our business model to potential investors.”

CanSense and Dravya Discovery were among ten wide-ranging innovative new businesses – covering diagnostics, digital health and service delivery – that pitched their ideas to an expert panel on 29 November.

Colin Roberts, Venture Development Director at BioCity, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the Oxford AHSN, which is driving collaboration between the NHS, industry and universities to transform clinical practice and improve patient safety and outcomes.

“CanSense and Dravya Discovery are both promising ventures with impressive potential impact. We are very pleased to be supporting both to realise this potential in launching and scaling as commercial ventures and excited to see what the future holds. The ideas and the innovations of those who took part in the 2019 Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme were inspiring and we’re looking forward to meeting more pioneering entrepreneurs in another busy year as we run more Accelerator programmes throughout the UK.”

Julie Hart, Director of Strategic and Industry Partnerships at the Oxford AHSN, said: “The first year of the programme was a real success. We look forward to hearing how the investment from BioCity helps CanSense and Dravya Discovery to flourish. We are excited to embark for the second year on a journey with innovative start-ups in our joint quest to deliver better patient outcomes.”

The second Oxford AHSN Accelerator Programme is now open for applications. Find out more at