A new Cambridge powerhouse formed by top life science entrepreneurs and enterprises has been launched.

The initiative, called Start Codon, will invest up to £250k each into 50 startups over the next five years, aiming to foster a new generation of biotech and totaling a potential £250,000.

Start Codon is on a mission to turn world-class research into commercially successful companies, and has been founded and launched with funding from keystone investors including Cambridge Innovation Capital, Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Dr Jonathan Milner and Dr Ian Tomlinson.

The accelerator will identify and recruit high potential life science and healthcare companies from across the UK and beyond, provide seed-funding, and leverage the resources of the Cambridge Cluster to reduce risk and prepare them for a Series A fundraise, all with a full-time dedicated team of experienced and active mentors, and office and lab space, located at the Milner Therapeutics Institute. This is the same area as the new life sciences campus in central Cambridge where AstraZeneca, Cancer Research UK and other leading research organisations are based.

Dr Jason Mellad, CEO Start Codon, said: “Our ambition is to provide life science and healthcare companies with a unique combination of funding, facilities, mentoring and support to fast track their development and success. We are selecting the most exciting pre-Series A companies from around the world, and bringing them to Cambridge, helping to solidify the region’s position as a leading global cluster.”

The executive team will be led by Dr Jason Mellad, previously CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix, who brings over a decade of experience in product development and commercialisation, building and managing cross-disciplinary teams, intellectual property protection and exploitation, and closing deals with strategic biotech and pharma partners.

The first cohort of five companies is now being recruited.