Winner announced at Welsh life sciences competition

The winner of Boost Cymru, a competition aimed at promoting the life sciences sector in Wales, was officially announced last night.

Jellagen, which is based in Cardiff, was presented with the winning title at a grand ceremony held at the Park Plaza Hotel. The latter is based in the city centre.

It’s in the process of developing a new type of 3D hydrogel kit by harvesting collagen from jellyfish, which can be used in cell research and a range of medical products.

According to the firm, its product is also capable of reducing the need for researchers to create their own in-lab gels. It was awarded with a prize fund worth £50,000.

The money was raised thanks to sponsorship from companies such as Microsoft, MSD, Greaves Brewster and GE. Jellagen will also get mentoring and the opportunity to travel to the US on a business trip.

During this, the company will have the chance to take part in a senior leadership training course run by a team of internationally renowned speakers and business experts.

Boost Cymru, which is run by Life Sciences Hub Wales, was launched in March to encourage new ideas, products or services that can put Wales’s tech and science industry on the map.

Andrew Mearns-Spragg, CEO of Jellagen, said: “It is an absolute honour to be named as the winner of Boost Cymru, and we are humbled to have been chosen from among such impressive competition.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has supported our business throughout this process, and also to the Life Sciences Hub Wales and the sponsors of Boost Cymru for giving us this opportunity.

“The process has been both enlightening and immensely valuable, and we are incredibly excited about the future for Jellagen.”

Julie Booth, chair of the judging panel, said: “I was immensely impressed by the standard of the all of the Boost Cymru finalists. Having been involved in the process from the very start, I feel that all the organisations that made it to the final have really upped their game over the last nine months.

“I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of the thriving life sciences sector here in Wales. We judged the finalists based on their leadership, proposition, planning and their ability to convince us that their business would give back to the sector.”

“Jellagen put forward a particularly compelling proposition and a diligent business plan. The product is innovative, the leadership is strong and we are filled with confidence that they are the organisation that will maximise this opportunity the most.”

Dr Melanie Goward, fellow judge and deputy fund manager at Finance Wales, said: “This competition was an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the up and coming innovations in the life sciences sector here in Wales. There were some fascinating entrants, and it was tough to choose a winner from such a high standard of finalists.”

Dr Ian Barwick, chief operating officer of the Life Sciences Hub, said: “Boost Cymru has proved to be a huge success from start to finish, attracting a high calibre of entrants from across Wales and demonstrating the strength and vibrancy of our fast-growing life sciences sector.

“All of the finalists presented some of the most innovative and exciting new products in the sector, and it’s been great to be able to showcase and celebrate such a diverse range of talent. We hope the expert mentoring and support has been invaluable to all the those involved.”