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The Lucky 13

Introducing the Cambridge Independent Science & Technology Awards 2018 #OnetoWatch finalists

Last week, Cambridge Independent announced the finalists in its Science and Technology Awards 2018. As sponsor of the new #OnetoWatch category, the team here at Cofinitive did not envy them the job of short-listing the applicants, in addition to reviewing the submissions in the other categories for any other hidden, One to Watch companies. We think they did a great job though, so, congratulations all round and (drumroll …) here are the #OnetoWatch 2018 finalists.

ANB Sensors

Around 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean. The ocean drives weather, regulates temperature and supports all living organisms. It’s estimated that if we could capture just 0.1 per cent of its kinetic energy, we could satisfy current global energy demands five times over. Yet, less than 20 per cent of Earth’s ocean has been mapped, observed and explored. We believe that Haslingfield based ANB Sensors’ smart, self-calibrating patented drift free sensors will revolutionise oceanography and contribute significantly to such much-needed research.

ANB Sensors influence will not end there though. The company’s plan to pursue source water and acquifer monitoring markets, as well as the oceanographic market, means we’re likely to see their pHenom sensors in reservoirs far and wide within the next five years.

Definitely #OnetoWatch.


Corrosion of infrastructure costs the nuclear, renewables, oil and gas, civil and process automation sectors billions of pounds per annum. Cranfield University spin-out, CorrosionRADAR, is set to change this, whilst reducing risk, with its game-changing range of  remote sensing technologies and analytics systems.

Based in Cambridge’s Future Business Centre, this innovative company makes it into the #OnetoWatch finalist list twice, both for its breakthrough technology, a key enabler of smart infrastructure, and its trail-blazing CEO, Dr Chiraz Ennaceur, which brings up to the next finalist.

CorrosionRADAR’s CEO, Dr Chiraz Ennaceur

A #OnetoWatch can be a company, ‘thing’ or a person and this next finalists is in the latter category. It’s been quite a year for that CorrrosionRADAR’s CEO, Dr Chiraz Ennaceu. Since winning £250,000 investment from early-stage technology investor, Mercia Fund Managers in December 2017, she has gone on to receive further national accolade, winning the  Entrepreneur of the Year at the first English Women’s Awards in June.

With further funding and strategic partnering announcements made throughout the year, Dr Ennaceur’s influence is clear to see. How could she not be a finalist in the #OnetoWatch category?


Guiding medical instruments is one of the biggest challenges faced by doctors since the move away from open surgery to more non-invasive techniques. Until now, surgeons have relied on a 2D X-ray view for guidance, but Cydar’s ground-breaking system uses 3D CT scan images. Not only does this allow surgeons to see more, it cuts costs, reduces risks and improves patient outcomes.

Barrington headquartered Cydar’s cloud-based platform uses machine learning algorithms to map an individual patient’s anatomy and pinpoint the location of instruments. It automatically recognises individual patient anatomy, providing accurate and reliable 3D overlays, updating them throughout the operation and adjusting them for movement, changes in posture and other inaccuracies.


Based on Cambridge’s famous Science Park, Exonate has developed an eye drop to treat diseases at the back of the eye. Such diseases are the biggest cause of blindness in the UK.  Currently, they can only be treated by injections directly into the eye.

Backed by investors with deep industry knowledge, including the Wellcome Trust, AngelCoFund, O2h Ventures, Uniseed, Cambridge Angels, Parkwalk, IP Group, WrenCapital and Martlet, we are clearly not alone in noticing that Exonate is #OnetoWatch.


We all know that tomorrow’s economy is going to be digital, but, up until now, it’s not been clear where the infrastructure to enable this is going to come from.

The aptly named Fetch.AI looks set to become this infrastructure. It combines AI, machine learning and distributed ledger technology to provide a framework for new and emerging types of business interactions.

Said to be the world’s first adaptive, self-organising ‘smart ledger’ to accelerate adoption and promote standards in blockchain, Fetch.AI is most definitely #OnetoWatch.

Fluidic Analytics

The Chesterton Mill-based, Cambridge University spin-out Fluidic Analytics has had a great year. They have won key patent approval in the United States to accelerate protein analysis technology,  and have just returned from Basel Life (Europe’s leading conference in LifeSciences) where they launched Fluidity One.

Fluidic Analytics is building pioneering lab tools for protein characterisation and aims to create a machine for everybody’s home enabling us all to profile our protein fingerprint and access information about their biology, quickly and easily.

Kalium Diagnostics

Also short-listed for the Cambridge Independent Start-Up of the Year 2018, Cambridge University spin-out, Kalium Diagnostics, has developed a way for patients with renal and other conditions to self-test their symptoms. It has the potential to enable patients to rapidly identify potentially life-threatening situations and will simplify monitoring by healthcare professionals, save costs and improve patient outcomes.

Supported by Kidney Research UK, Addenbrooke’s Kidney Patients Association and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, Kalium Diagnostics has already won the Accelerate@Babraham competition and AstraZeneca’s Best Healthcare Startup Award this year. Their pants are definitely on fire!

Mursla Ltd

Well, we can’t have a Cambridge #OnetoWatch list without at least one nanotechnology innovator can we? Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study of extremely small things in chemistry, biology, physics, materials science and engineering. Cambridge has a strong tradition in this sector, and since the opening of the University’s Nanoscience Centre 15 years ago, our city’s reputation in this sector has grown exponentially.

Mursla picks up on this tradition in the arena of nanosensors. Its proprietary, scalable nanofabrication process delivers high resolution sensing chips, capable of detecting material as small as 2-10 nanometres (nm). Enabling quantum phenomena to become observable in this way opens the door for many new biomedical innovations. Its influence could be immense.

PhoreMost Ltd

A life sciences firm targeting “undruggable” disease targets, PhoreMost’s model is disruptive because it challenges conventional wisdom about drug prices and the time taken to bring them to market.

Aiming to aid drug development with its SITESEEKER platform, which identifies new therapeutic targets, this Babraham-based firm concluded an £11million Series A investment round in May. Pioneering a new drug discovery model that is collaborative in nature, PhoreMost is right up Cofinitive’s Street.


Speech technology is set to transform how we interact with machines. It is rapidly becoming an integral part of our lives ­– from voice commands to call centre analytics. For the technology to become truly universal though, it needs high accuracy, broad language coverage and simple integration.  Speechmatics’ software delivers just this. From transcription services, to media monitoring, to audio archiving , dictation and voice control, Speechmatics has it covered. What’s more, they have it covered in 75 languages. #OnetoWatch? We think so…

Sphere Fluidics

This Babraham firm has created a single cell screening system called Cyto-Mine that can reduce costs and speed up therapeutic discovery. One of Red Herring’s Top 100 companies of 2018, Sphere Fluidics is setting the pace in cell analysis and the potential it has to slash drug discovery lead times and costs is significant.


Drugs are developed for the ‘average patient’. Whilst this one-size-fits-all approach may make treatments suitable for some, it doesn’t provide the most effective fit for all. Stemnovate is disrupting this drug development model with innovative organ-on-chip drug development platforms that take into account patients’ genetics, environment and lifestyle.

These platforms facilitate safer, more cost effective drug discovery and remove the need for animal testing. Key enablers of personalised, precision medicine, Stemnovate’s systems offer a ground-breaking opportunity to develop new tools for research and development, disease modelling, pharmacology and toxicology.

They are truly #OnetoWatch. Sunil Shah, co-founder of O2h Ventures clearly agrees. He has recently joined Stemnovate’s board as chairman.


Good luck to all the finalists and we look forward to seeing you all at the Awards Ceremony on 1st November 2018.

And why aren’t you on the list?!

Even though the finalists for the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards have now been announced; if you think you should be on our broader Top 21 #OnetoWatch list email us at OnetoWatch@cofinitive.com or post on Twitter to @Cofinitive #OnetoWatch and watch this space!.