Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

UK Start-Ups Digistain and Celex Oncology Head to EIT Health Catapult Finals

30th May 2024

Two UK start-ups, Digistain and Celex Oncology, have secured their places at the EIT Health Catapult Final, which will be held on 5th June during the Health.Tech 2024 conference in Munich. Nine European start-ups will compete in the finals.  

EIT Health Ireland-UK, a Co-location Centre of EIT Health, which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, today announced that two UK-based start-ups, Digistain and Celex Oncology, have been selected as finalists in the EIT Health Catapult pitching competition. These finalists represent the most promising European start-ups in the life sciences and healthtech sectors. 

Now in its ninth year, EIT Health Catapult boosts the development of over 300 European health start-ups by exposing them to leading experts and international investors. Winners often go on to achieve impressive growth and investment. 

This year, six Ireland-UK start-ups reached the semi-finals, making up twenty percent of the 30 European semi-finalists. In 2023, MediSieve, a spin out from University College London that developed magnetic blood filtration, a revolutionary platform therapy that enables the physical removal of specific substances from the bloodstream of patients, won second prize in the Biotech category during the Catapult finals. In 2022, Cambridge-based SolasCure won first prize in Catapult’s biotech category. SolasCure is pioneering a ground-breaking solution to treat chronic wounds. The start-up went on to secure a substantial Series B funding round to the value of €12 million.

Marc Butterly, Business Creation Lead, EIT Health Ireland-UK, said, “We are excited to see that two start-ups from our region are in the finals. The Catapult programme is essential for European MedTech and Life Science companies raising Series A funding and beyond. Quality-screened by local CLCs, it offers competitive, high-level product market mentoring within the EU investment ecosystem. The programme helps companies prepare for future funding milestones by addressing key product development challenges with experts and providing early exposure to the EU VC network, saving time later. 

Meet the Finalists

Digistain is developing a risk profiling test for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, providing oncologists with decision-making data in just 15 minutes. 

“It is an honour to be selected as an EIT Health Catapult finalist and to be recognised for our innovation and progress in breast cancer diagnostics. Our mission is to eliminate breast cancer care inequalities by transforming the speed, cost and accuracy of recurrence risk diagnostics. Being in the EIT Health network significantly helps us to fulfil this mission and will help us bring patients closer to a technology capable of saving thousands of lives across Europe,” said Hemmel Amrania, Founder and CEO of Digistain. 

CELEX Oncology  focuses on treating aggressive, invasive, and metastatic cancer forms by turning aggressive cancer into a benign state, allowing patients to live with the disease. Their lead candidates, CL-S01 and CL-S02 have demonstrated exceptional efficacy in halting invasiveness during preclinical trials .

Celex is developing a transformative approach in treating cancer by keeping the tumour from spreading into distant organs, which is the main cause of death in 90% of cancer patients. This is a breakthrough in cancer treatment that would improve patients’ quality of life and ultimately save millions of lives yearly,” said Dr. Sara Moodad, VP R&D, Celex Oncology. 

We are happy to be part of the EIT Health community and thrilled to be among innovative EIT Health Catapult finalists. This programme has been a unique opportunity for Celex to meet fellow entrepreneurs, experts in the field, and investors. Above all, it has allowed us to showcase our innovative approach in targeting cancer.” 

The EIT Health Catapult Finals 

Each team will now pitch their solution at the Health.Tech conference in Munich, where the start-ups will meet investors and EIT Health Partners, which make up Europe’s largest health innovation network, from the worlds of business, research, and education. 

The nine finalists will compete for the Catapult prize of €30,000 in each category (life sciences and healthtech). Event attendees will decide which of the finalists will win the “Alex Casta Audience Award,” which gives the winner a unique opportunity to have their logo displayed on the Nasdaq Tower in New York’s Times Square, where it will be seen by millions of people worldwide.  

This year, EIT Health Catapult has also joined forces with leading healthcare players in Europe to further support the most promising start-ups. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Astrazeneca, eg technology, Lusiadas, and Nasdaq, will award industry prizes, providing the winners with their expertise and support. 

EIT Health Catapult 2024-25 is now open and accepting applications! Ready to scale your start-up to new heights? Apply by 29 August.  

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