Neobe Therapeutics raises over $2m for synthetic biology enabled tumour microenvironment remodelling

Neobe Therapeutics, a pioneering synthetic biology startup at the forefront of immuno-oncology innovation, is thrilled to announce the successful closure of a $2.34M financing round. This significant financial milestone was achieved with the support of new investors Pioneer Group and 2048 Ventures, alongside existing backers Deep Science Ventures*, Cancer Research Horizons*, and Discovery Park Ventures. Additionally, the round received a non-dilutive grant award from UKRI’s Innovate UK Future Economy Investor Partnership Programme.


Neobe has built a synthetic biology platform to engineer safe microbial strains to disrupt the microenvironment of solid tumours, without affecting healthy tissues. These programmable microscopic trojan horses enable immunotherapy responses by breaking down barriers to immune infiltration locally. Since its inception Neobe has successfully engineered two differentiated proprietary products aimed at enabling immunotherapy efficacy in patients with colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancer, with demonstrated pre-clinical efficacy.

Neobe was founded by Pedro Correa de Sampaio and Annelise Soulier in 2021, from a venture creation alliance between Deep Science Ventures and Cancer Research Horizons established to help founder-type scientists build high-impact ventures in oncology, using DSV’s proven approach to ideation-based innovation. Neobe was created specifically to address the key issue of existing barriers created by the local microenvironment of solid tumours which prevent the infiltration of cancer reactive immune cells. This “immune exclusion” is a key contributing factor in why about 80% of patients with solid tumours still do not respond to life changing immunotherapies.


This latest injection of capital will accelerate the development of Neobe’s lead programme, combining extensive pre-clinical safety and efficacy studies with initial regulatory validation.


“We are immensely grateful for the continued backing of our existing investors and thrilled to have Pioneer Group and 2048 Ventures join Neobe’s journey”, said Pedro Correa de Sampaio, CEO and co-founder of Neobe. “The trust and support of all our investors as well as Innovate UK truly validates our innovative approach, harnessing synthetic biology to build safer and more effective strategies to enable therapeutic efficacy in cancer patients. Our mission continues to be to transform cancer treatment through engineered live biotherapeutics, and with this support, we are one step closer to making that a reality.”


This investment will be instrumental in advancing Neobe Therapeutics’ research and development efforts, expanding its talented team, and bringing its novel therapies closer to clinical development. It will be accompanied by an expansion of Neobe’s board of directors, with Julie Wolf from 2048 Ventures and Imelda Juniarsih from Pioneer Group joining as investor directors. Neobe’s board is led by Keith Blundy, former CEO of Cancer Research Technology and STORM Therapeutics, who joined as non-executive director and chairman in 2023.


Imelda Juniarsih, Investment Director at Pioneer Group said “Supporting Neobe in addressing previously untreatable cancers is truly exciting. Their pioneering approach holds immense promise in broadening access to immunotherapies, potentially transforming treatment and importantly preserving life for many patients. We’re honoured to welcome Neobe to our portfolio and recognise the pivotal role they play in advancing this vital mission of making cancer treatment more accessible.”


Julie Wolf from 2048 Ventures said “At 2048 Ventures, we look to invest in platform plays that solve huge healthcare challenges. Neobe’s stromal remodeling microbes represent the best application of a synbio platform, which is using biology to engineer life-saving therapies for cancer patients. We are excited to partner with Neobe and join their mission in unlocking immunooncology treatments for all patients.”


“Neobe is on a mission to unlock the full potential of immuno-oncology therapeutics,” said Tony Hickson, Chief Business Officer at Cancer Research Horizons. “Since its inception from one of our venture creation programmes, we have been impressed by the entrepreneurial activities of the Neobe team. We are excited to continue to work with Neobe’s innovative team to support the company’s next phase of growth and realize its full potential to deliver much needed therapeutic solutions for patients.”

Celebrating International Women’s Day and tackling inequality at Discovery Park

With female founded start-ups still struggling to access funding and a lack of women investors, there remains much to do to create an equitable environment for women in business. The femtech industry is a clear example of this gender bias, with male femtech founders consistently raising more capital despite over 70% of femtech companies being founded by women.


Less than a quarter of all UK female-led companies accessed external capital in 2022/2023. Building a supportive network and demonstrating the success of women in these industries is vital to overcome these challenges. To share stories of success, build connections, and discuss potential solutions to the obstacles that remain, Discovery Park will host a morning full of talks and panel discussions on International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March, featuring a line-up of innovative women at all stages of their careers. From breaking barriers to fostering innovation, the discussions will touch upon various aspects of business navigation and leadership. This is a free event and is open to all interested in driving positive change.


The event will be opened by Jane Kennedy, Chief Business Officer of Discovery Park, followed by two keynote speeches from Laura Bloomfield, Global Head of TELUS International, on ‘Leading the way: A CEO’s Inspirational Journey’, and Vineeta Tripathi, Founder of Vitarka Therapeutics, on the ‘Inspiring Journey of Female Founder’. It will also include a panel discussion on Leadership, Diversity, and Business Insights, and a fireside chat on the Challenges & Opportunities in Entrepreneurship with Julie Richards, Head of Assay Development, Psyros.


The day will feature the inaugural presentation of the Discovery Park Inspirational Women Awards, showcasing inspiring women as chosen by the Discovery Park community. To reserve your place and access the full agenda visit:


As well as disparities in business, the gender health gap is still hindering women’s access to healthcare. A combination of a lack of understanding of women’s physiology and a lack of clinical trial data is resulting in worse treatment outcomes. Alarmingly, the UK has the largest gender health gap in the G20.


This gap will not be closed without a concerted, collaborative effort. Making up 51% of our population, women offer a multitude of ideas and expertise to build a more equitable society. To champion this, Discovery Park is partnering with NHS Kent and Medway, Kent and Medway Medical School and Health Innovation Kent, Surrey and Sussex to host Kent & Medway Women’s Health Innovation Summit on 6th March. This event will bring together clinicians, patients, students, academics, innovators and system partners from across the Kent & Medway health community who are dedicated to revolutionising women’s health through innovation, leadership, inclusivity and systemic change. This event will be held in the Pears Building at the Kent and Medway Medical School from 12pm to 4:30pm. For more information please visit:


Discovery Park is committed to supporting women in business and innovative organisations transforming women’s health. Contact us for more information on business support and investment opportunities currently available.

Graduate Planner

Who We Are:
Hume Planning Consultancy Ltd was established in 2001 and focuses on providing independent and creative planning advice to a range of development partners predominantly in London and the South East region. We are a close-knit team of six, with four planners from a range of professional backgrounds.

The Practice prides itself on providing practical, professional input and has a reputation for integrity and long-term relationships with clients. We focus on highlighting the positive benefits of quality development and facilitating investment
with development partners in order to shape attractive, well-functioning places that can be looked back upon with a sense of pride in years to come.

The Opportunity:
As a Graduate Planner, you will be meaningfully engaged in all work streams and an active member of our team. You will be given real challenges and responsibilities to help you develop into a well-rounded planning consultant. With the support of colleagues, you will develop core competencies to help you consolidate your technical skills and confidence as you build your career.

We envisage a start date asap although we would also consider applicants graduating in Summer 2024.

Job Description:

As a part of the Hume Planning team, you will be involved in a diverse range of projects including residential developments, commercial and leisure proposals of varying scales, and will be working alongside members of the team to help deliver these planning proposals on behalf of our client base. The general day-to-day work you can expect to be involved with includes (though is not limited to):

• Review of key planning policy documents and guidance;
• Navigation of LPA planning portals, planning history search, assessment of site context and physical/policy constraints;
• Undertaking of site visits & photos;
• Review of Local Planning Authority (LPA) Local Plans and their stage of production;
• Research for new enquiries and planning appraisals;
• Feedback of research to the team as part of one-to-one or team meetings;
• Cataloguing and progressing new enquiry projects; Preparation of fee proposals to generate new business;
• Contribution to Planning Statements;
• Attendance at various LPA meetings with a member of the team; and
• Attendance at consultation events.

We also expect good time management, organisational skills and assistance with general admin tasks around the office, including answering the phones and taking messages, updating the Hume Planning website.

Your involvement in a broad range of projects will assist you in the completion of your assessment of professional competence (APC) as you work towards becoming a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Who are we looking for?

We value our team members and are actively seeking a motivated graduate who can join the Practice as we expand in 2024. The successful candidate will demonstrate the following skills:

• a strong drive for results and tangible outcomes;
• a team player with a positive and energetic outlook;
• the desire and ability to adapt to changing situations;
• adept at building relationships with external contacts, including clients and planning officers;
• an ability to plan ahead, and to understand the commercial aspects of the planning process;
• a valid UK driver’s licence;
• a relevant degree; candidates who have completed or in the process of completing an RTPI accredited MSc/MA in a related discipline will be favourably considered.

You should have a passion for planning and creative solutions to development, demonstrated through your studies and/or your extra-curricular activities. The ideal candidate may have demonstrated work experience in a related field. All applicants should be eligible to work in the UK at the time you start employment.

We look forward to hearing from candidates who meet the above criteria.

Interested applicants should contact Alister Hume by email with a covering letter and a copy of your CV (

Cross-country collaboration vital to shape the UK into a life science superpower

Paula Rogers-Brown, Head of Communities & Ecosystem Engagement, Connect: Health Tech, shares her perspective on the challenges facing the UK health tech community and how with collaboration and a unified voice, we can overcome these to build the UK into a thriving health tech hub and life science superpower.


What are the major challenges facing health tech businesses in the UK?


The UK’s health tech ecosystem is rather fragmented, stemming from a positive trend for organic growth. As a consequence, this has fostered poor interconnectivity. It is well known that interdisciplinary collaboration is key for the success of most innovative industries, and this is just as true for health tech. To facilitate more collaboration, we need to overcome this fragmentation and build more connections. Locally, removing siloes will help complementary teams interact, but this should not be done at the expense of pan-regional collaboration as we need to harness the wealth of expertise available throughout the UK for long term growth.

At the interface of health, technology, engineering and AI, health tech faces its own language barriers: clinicians are unfamiliar with common tech terms and technology specialists are untrained in medical terminology. This challenge is not insurmountable, but it is easy to underestimate the time frames needed to overcome this and work well together on product development and commercialisation.

Another challenge is a lack of knowledge around entrepreneurship in the research community. There are incredible scientists and clinicians with potentially transformational ideas, but without a knowledge of routes to progress their innovation, and an understanding of aspects like IP, commercialisation, funding and regulation, their ideas may never reach the public. It is therefore vital that we share knowledge and resources about where these entrepreneurs can start, what do they need and where can they find more information?

To improve navigation across the ecosystem, Connect: Health Tech proactively aids these connections, collaborating with innovation hubs like Discovery Park, and forming a national network where ideas and information can be shared.


What do we need to do to support the UK health tech industry?


We need to build an industry with a porosity in knowledge exchange. Fellowships could be a good way to encourage this area – not just academic but industrial too – as they can be used to foster knowledge exchange between industries and different locations.

It’s also important that we invest in the infrastructure to develop both physical and digital communities that support these connections. Events and in-person connections form a cornerstone of all collaboration. Science parks like Discovery Park provide an ideal environment to bring together a diverse mix of stakeholders including academia, clinical innovators and industry for knowledge exchange and interdisciplinary innovation. We’ve also learned over the past few years that online communities can provide significant additional benefits, allowing these collaborations to continue between different locations in between these events, enabling existing ideas to develop and new opportunities to be identified.

I would also draw attention to the visibility of role models within the health tech community. We have an incredibly diverse population with different healthcare experiences and health technology has the potential to make real changes for everyone, but if the diversity of the population is not reflected in those developing innovative research and technologies, then solutions will have a limited market. To build this diversity into research and leadership teams, we need to highlight role models that are already there – after all, you can’t be what you can’t see.


Investment and development have often been targeted towards certain areas of the UK. Are there risks in focusing development within specific regions?


Co-location is a really powerful tool when it comes to sharing ideas and building a rich talent pool, but this shouldn’t be done at the expense of collaboration elsewhere. The UK punches above its weight scientifically. We are a relatively small country geographically and with the right networks, both regionally and nationally, we could strengthen our impact and attractiveness.

Another important consideration is ensuring research and innovation development is inclusive. Different regions within the UK have different demographics and we need to understand and incorporate that into our recruitment strategies. There is no one route for developing a new innovative med tech device, for example, and the health tech ecosystem needs to embrace employees from all backgrounds. That way we can be sure we are not missing opportunities to harness and develop talent on our doorstep which can lead to rich innovations we can all benefit from.

Science and research parks have a really important role in doing this as they are directly embedded in their local communities and can therefore work closely with schools, colleges and universities to promote STEM, the opportunities available, and develop their own talent pipeline.

As an example, Discovery Park provides a thriving community to build connections and exchange knowledge, including a Skills Hub that brings together the expertise of Kent Universities, colleges and industry to help businesses collaborate to overcome skills shortages. Adding in an online collaboration hub to these can extend those opportunities across the four nations – and internationally.


The NHS is a unique resource for the UK, what are the opportunities that this can bring?


At Connect: Health Tech, we support clinician-led innovation. The UK’s clinician base is a unique resource that has a truly in-depth understanding of the healthcare needs of our population. Through our community and digital platform, we are proactively working with clinicians to develop a suite of resources that supports their innovation journey. Supporting innovation from this community to ensure we are at the forefront of producing solutions that meet actual needs is really important to us at Connect: Health Tech.

Working with local NHS teams can be a huge asset to technology developers to ensure their technology is solving a genuine need. It can also result in superior product development by incorporating relevant data sets and ensuring optimisations are made with input from clinicians and patients alike. Research campuses like Discovery Park leverage relationships with their local NHS Trusts to facilitate collaborations with industry to drive purposeful innovation.


What other opportunities do you see for the UK health tech industry in the next five years and how can we help to deliver these?


Pan-regional collaboration is a fantastic opportunity that we are seeing a real shift towards, and we need to continue to develop this to see more of this kind of collaboration at scale. We’ve already seen the formation of a cross-regional innovation cluster between Cambridge and Manchester which will facilitate the sharing of expertise between these two knowledge-rich communities. Building relationships with other knowledge exchange hubs like Discovery Park allows further development of pan-regional collaboration to unlock even more opportunities for growth.

I was delighted that the government recently accepted all the recommendations from the independent review of university spin-out companies, including providing greater understanding of entrepreneurial skills in the academic setting. There is huge potential still to be realised from our wealth of successful academic institutions and we need to develop this potential by providing support, advice and training for founders wishing to commercialise their discoveries. Initiatives like the Eagle Lab at Discovery Park can provide fantastic support for fledgling businesses through programmes, mentorship and investor networking.


What do we need to do to ensure these opportunities aren’t missed?


We need to invest! The opportunities are clear, but they require investment, and these investments require some risk-taking on experimental technologies. We also need to invest in developing the right infrastructure, taking our communities with us through enablers like Connect: Health Tech, and building strong foundations for growth, as creating a solid health tech ecosystem reduces the risk of missed opportunities.


Paula Rogers-Brown

Head of Communities & Ecosystem Engagement, Connect: Health Tech

University of Cambridge

Paula leads on the strategic development and management of Connect: Health Tech, an interdisciplinary community of practice for health tech professionals bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders to build and integrate a thriving business and enterprise community.

Kent Women in Tech Network Meeting

According to Women in Data, less than 25% of professionals working in Data Sciences are Women. Networking is a vital mechanism to address this imbalance.

Kent Women in Tech was founded in 2019 to fill a gap for Women’s events in the Tech space outside of London. Inspired by attending events such as Women In Data, Sarah Lipscombe ran the first session with the help of her colleagues. It continued to run and moved online during the pandemic and has moved back to being a predominately in person event to allow women in the Kent area to connect with each other, share ideas and learn from each other’s experiences.

It has always been an informal and inclusive meet up where everyone is welcome. Over the years, many connections have been formed and continue alongside the regular sessions. Industry research shows women supporting women is a key component of attracting and retaining women across STEM and data sciences fields.

Find out more about the Kent Women in Tech Network Meeting and register here.

Toasted Sandwich Open House Meeting

Ready to conquer your fear of public speaking and enhance your leadership skills? Join the Toasted Sandwich Open House meeting at Discovery Park this Wednesday!

To find out more about The Toasted Sandwich, Toastmasters International, and the benefits of taking your speaking and leadership skills to the next level, join us in the Magellan Suite at Discovery Park on Wednesday 21st February from 11.30-13.00 📅

This event is open to all, whether you’re a seasoned Toastmasters International club member or new to public speaking, and will help you understand how Toastmasters can sharpen your communication and leadership abilities.

You can also join online via Zoom 💻

Join online:

Meeting ID: 814 0094 4240
Passcode: 207349

Make sure to check out the new member pack below here.

Table Tennis Tournament Grand Finale

The Discovery Park Table Tennis Tournament is almost coming to an end. It’s been great to see some many people taking part, making it a really exciting competition!


You are invited to join us for the grand finale and award ceremony on Thursday, 7th March, 16.00-17.00, in the Barclays Eagle Lab.

We’ll be lining up three tables with rolling matches, until we have our final players, and ultimately our winner! We’ve also lined up pizza and beverages to be served for everyone.

If you missed the chance to be part of this league, don’t worry! We’re looking to launch a series of smaller mixed leagues.

If you’re interested in taking part in our Table Tennis Tournaments in the future, please contact to register your interest.

We hope to see you at the spectacular finale event!


Register here

Biotech start-up BugBiome secures investment for pioneering research in sustainable pest protection

  • BugBiome raises £310k in pre-seed investment from Cambridge Angels and Discovery Park Ventures
  • Investment enables a £330k Engineering Biology Grant from Innovate UK for cutting-edge agri-tech research leveraging the microbiome and engineering biology approaches.

Cambridge, UK, 12th February 2024: BugBiome, a biotech harnessing nature’s microbial defences for pest protection to benefit human and planet health, has successfully closed a pre-seed funding round, securing £310k from Cambridge Angels and Discovery Park Ventures.


This investment will support BugBiome’s mission to address agricultural and human pest protection with naturally derived solutions harnessing the microbiome as a sustainable source of alternatives to synthetic and bio-accumulative chemicals. It also provides matched funding for a £330k Engineering Biology Grant from Innovate UK, to identify new methods to control aphids in crop protection. The 12-month project aligns with BugBiome’s focus for sustainable, insect control solutions that do not compromise biodiversity, including a pipeline of targets across human and agricultural pests.

Following the investment, Emma Palmer Foster of Discovery Park Ventures and James Thomas of Cambridge Angels join the Board as Investor Directors.


Dr Alicia Showering, co-founder and CEO of BugBiome, said: “We are delighted to announce a successful pre-seed funding round with the support of Cambridge Angels and Discovery Park Ventures. This investment enables our non-dilutive Innovate UK grant and will help us to advance our pipeline of innovative microbial solutions for pest protection, offering an effective alternative to chemicals. With this new funding, we are expanding our team, accelerating the development of our microbial products against pests.”

Dr Andy Richards, founder member of Cambridge Angels, added: “We have been impressed by the entrepreneurial acumen of the BugBiome team, who have achieved such a lot in a short time. The microbiome is increasingly being seen as a vitally important aspect of biological systems. The team at BugBiome have identified that the interaction between the microbiome on a surface, be that human skin or a plant surface, plays a vital role in the attraction of insects which can impact on human health and on the environment. We look forward to helping them on their journey to exploit these learnings.”

Emma Palmer Foster, Director, Discovery Park Ventures, said: “BugBiome’s ground-breaking research addresses a critical aspect of the global focus on feeding the population sustainably and enhancing crop protection. Our investment in BugBiome makes it our tenth portfolio company and underscores the company’s potential to make a significant and sustainable impact in the agricultural sector and human health.”

Contact us