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BBSRC Fellow wins NW start up of the year

5 December 2008

Dr Andrew Almond, a recent BBSRC David Phillips Fellow and a current BBSRC/RSE Enterprise Fellow, and his colleagues in Conformetrix, a spin-out company from the University of Manchester, have been awarded the BioNoW Biomedical Start Up of the Year Award for 2008. BioNoW is the Northwest Development Agency’s biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare cluster programme. Conformetrix has received several rounds of funding from BBSRC’s Follow-On-Fund scheme.

Dr Celia Caulcott, Director of Skills and Innovation at BBSRC, said: "I warmly congratulate Andy and his colleagues in Conformetrix in their achievements this year which have been rightly recognised with this award."

Conformetrix Ltd is an early-stage drug discovery company providing novel chemistry IP to the wider drug discovery industry. The platform technology was developed from Dr. Almond’s research into the 3D structures of 'glycosaminoglycans' – complex sugar molecules, such as hyaluronic acid (HA) – and how they interact with proteins.

The BBSRC-funded technology gives Conformetrix a competitive advantage in drug discovery, since they are the only company in the world that can solve the dynamic 3D-shapes of drug molecules - a breakthrough that finally realises true ligand-based drug design. This information gives unique insight into how drugs work and, more importantly, how to quickly and efficiently improve hit selection or lead compound development.

Dr Caulcott said: "We have been watching the progress of Andy’s science through his BBSRC fellowship and his work to translate his excellent research into commercial impact through further BBSRC knowledge transfer investment. We will be watching with interest where he and his colleagues take Conformetrix next."


Notes to editors

For more information about Conformetrix see: C4X Discovery Limited (previously

Conformetrix were named Start Up of the Year 2008 at the annual BioNoW Awards Dinner.

BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship scheme is aimed at Scientists who have demonstrated high potential and who wish to establish themselves as independent researchers.

For more information see:

Enterprise Fellowships are funded by BBSRC and delivered The Royal Society of Edinburgh. They enable researchers to concentrate on, and be actively involved in, commercialising research that was largely funded by BBSRC. The Fellowship provides business training to help development of a business plan, a year’s salary hosted at the Fellow’s university or research institute and access to mentors, business experts and professional advisors.

BBSRC Follow-on Funding is for ‘proof of concept’ at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial proposition. It funds work to convert an idea into a robust business plan where a route to commercialisation is clear, for example a spin-out (seed or venture finance) or licensing opportunity.

For more information see:


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £420M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299