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Second Cambridge FinTech StartupWeekend on 5-7 June.

Are you interested in Finance and Innovation? Do you have a business idea and want to test if it is viable? Do you want to learn from others how to put your idea into business?


Accelerate Cambridge in partnership with BNY Mellon invites you to join the Second Cambridge FinTech StartupWeekend on 5-7 June.


Startup weekends are a hands-on experience where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if their start-up ideas are viable.

This three-day intensive event will bring together finance and innovation entrepreneurs who want to address challenges in tomorrow’s banking.


Participants will have 54 hours to test their idea, build a team and pitch to a panel of judges. The Cambridge FinTech Startup weekend will start on Friday 5 June, when delegates will have an opportunity to pitch their best ideas and inspire others to join their teams.
Then on Saturday, 6 June, participants will work with their teams and with the support of experienced mentors will validate ideas and build minimal viable product.


On the last day, Sunday 7 June, the teams will pitch their concepts to a panel of expert judges – successful entrepreneurs, leading academics and venture capitalists. The winning teams will have an opportunity to take their businesses to the next level.


Venue: Cambridge Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, CB2 1AG


Check the programme details and register here


Registration deadline: Monday 1 June 2015


Find out more about our Startup weekends here


Read our latest blog post about the event.


If you have any questions please email


Best wishes,


Accelerate Cambridge Team

Cambridge Judge Business School

Trumpington Street

Cambridge, CB2 1AG

Tel: 01223-760959


China Business Solutions: New FREE UK – China Internship Programme This Summer

New UK-China Internship Programme this summer

A new FREE UK China Internship program is launched by China Business Solutions to help British business successfully access the still growing Chinese market..

Commenting on the UK China Internship Programme, Lord Wei of Shoreditch says:
“I welcome the launch of the UK China Internship Programme: British businesses, especially SMEs across the UK cities can benefit from the language skills and cultural knowledge offered by talened Chinese interns. For the Chinese students, making a contribution to the British economy will be a valuable and meaningful addition to their overall experience in their UK study. I wish the programme great success” 


As China continues to move from a manufacturing to services to a more consumer power economy, there are still many prospects for British business. Understanding the cultural nuances and avoiding mis-communication gaining real insight and getting good advice remains essential to be successful in China.

To continue to assist British businesses and to meet the rising demand for Chinese talent, China Business Solutions has launched “The UK China Internship Program”, aimed at supporting British businesses, both large corporations and importantly SMEs, as well as offering talented Chinese students already in the UK the opportunity to gain experience in British companies, enabling them to put into practice science, engineering, IT, marketing and in business skills and knowledge gained in prestigious universities.  The working experience will not only create an impact on the résumé for the Chinese student, but will also add enormous value to the British business with timely assistance in language and cultural issues into China.

China Business Solutions has successfully been supporting UK companies for nearly 15 years, during which time the Chinese economy has enjoyed double-digit growth. “With the Chinese economy now entering into the ‘new normal’GDP is expected to be lower than before, and this brings with it sustainability and a growing need for quality offerings with heritage and good customer service”, has commented Ting Zhang, Founder & CEO of China Business Solutions. By having a talented ambitious Chinese speaking intern supporting your business is an opportunity and a real asset to be part of the sustained UK-China growth. Just as the UK Trade Minister, Lord Livingston recently said, “Chinese-speaking students can help UK businesses to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers that could stand between them and the Chinese market”.

This “UK China Internship Programme” is a wider offering to an already successful Chinese students placement programme that China Business Solutions has operated for over six years. So we understand that taking a Chinese intern is an important step towards a successful two-way communication between China and the UK. However, we recognize that this can be time consuming and fraught with administrative difficulties. By taking part in the ‘UK China Internship Programme’, we take care of this for you, so the placement of a talented Chinese student is easy and straightforward. We take care of the logistics and formalities and the engagement, you just provide us with a job description and your needs. We do the rest and this is provided to you ‘free of charge’.

If you want to know more or take part into the program, download the programme leaflet here or e-mail us at

Be part of the UK-China growth through engaging ambitious Chinese talent.
China Business Solutions’ launch of the new UK-China Internship Programme – To provide UK businesses with Chinese interns for the summer period

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Clues Contained in 500 Million-Year-Old Brain Point to the Origin of Heads in Early Animals


The discovery of a 500 million-year-old fossilised brain has helped identify a point of crucial transformation in early animals, and answered some of the questions about how heads first evolved.

This is a period of crucial transformation

Javier Ortega-Hernández

A new study from the University of Cambridge has identified one of the oldest fossil brains ever discovered – more than 500 million years old – and used it to help determine how heads first evolved in early animals. The results, published today (7 May) in the journal Current Biology, identify a key point in the evolutionary transition from soft to hard bodies in early ancestors of arthropods, the group that contains modern insects, crustaceans and spiders.

The study looked at two types of arthropod ancestors – a soft-bodied trilobite and a bizarre creature resembling a submarine. It found that a hard plate, called the anterior sclerite, and eye-like features at the front of their bodies were connected through nerve traces originating from the front part of the brain, which corresponds with how vision is controlled in modern arthropods.

The new results also allowed new comparisons with anomalocaridids, a group of large swimming predators of the period, and found key similarities between the anterior sclerite and a plate on the top of the anomalocaridid head, suggesting that they had a common origin. Although it is widely agreed that anomalocaridids are early arthropod ancestors, their bodies are actually quite different. Thanks to the preserved brains in these fossils, it is now possible to recognise the anterior sclerite as a bridge between the head of anomalocaridids and that of more familiar jointed arthropods.

“The anterior sclerite has been lost in modern arthropods, as it most likely fused with other parts of the head during the evolutionary history of the group,” said Dr Javier Ortega-Hernández, a postdoctoral researcher from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences, who authored the study. “What we’re seeing in these fossils is one of the major transitional steps between soft-bodied worm-like creatures and arthropods with hard exoskeletons and jointed limbs – this is a period of crucial transformation.”

Ortega-Hernández observed that bright spots at the front of the bodies, which are in fact simple photoreceptors, are embedded into the anterior sclerite. The photoreceptors are connected to the front part of the fossilised brain, very much like the arrangement in modern arthropods. In all likelihood these ancient brains processed information like in today’s arthropods, and were crucial for interacting with the environment, detecting food, and escaping from predators.

During the Cambrian Explosion, a period of rapid evolutionary innovation about 500 million years ago when most major animal groups emerge in the fossil record, arthropods with hard exoskeletons and jointed limbs first started to appear. Prior to this period, most animal life on Earth consisted of enigmatic soft-bodied creatures that resembled algae or jellyfish.

These fossils, from the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, originated from the Burgess Shale in Western Canada, one of the world’s richest source of fossils from the period.

Since brains and other soft tissues are essentially made of fatty-like substances, finding them as fossils is extremely rare, which makes understanding their evolutionary history difficult. Even in the Burgess Shale, one of the rare places on Earth where conditions are just right to enable exceptionally good preservation of Cambrian fossils, finding fossilised brain tissue is very uncommon. In fact, this is the most complete brain found in a fossil from the Burgess Shale, as earlier results have been less conclusive.

“Heads have become more complex over time,” said Ortega-Hernández, who is a Fellow of Emmanuel College. “But what we’re seeing here is an answer to the question of how arthropods changed their bodies from soft to hard. It gives us an improved understanding of the origins and complex evolutionary history of this highly successful group.”

The research is supported by Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

– See more at:

How Technology Can Transform Moving House


laurel-hardy-decoratingI’ve just moved house and am still recovering from the experience. Having last moved 11 years ago I expected that technology would have changed things in the interim, but it seems that the process is still paper-based, slow and (as far as I can see) incredibly inefficient. If you ever wondered who still uses a fax machine, look no further than solicitors………

It starts so well. The front-end of house buying is now pretty much web-based. So there’s no more peering through the windows of estate agents as you can set your criteria and instantly bring up potential properties that you are interested in. In fact there could be too much information available – we took the virtual tour of our house off our details as we worried that people could be making up their minds based on that, rather than coming for a viewing. The technology used to gather these details is also pretty high tech – with drone cameras taking aerial photos for example.

However once you’ve had your offer accepted, the back office processes revert to paper – based on my experiences, here are five areas that seem ripe for digitisation:

1          Paper-based forms
Some documents, such as Land Registry files and searches, are now all online, making it much quicker to access them. But a lot more aren’t – the fixtures and fittings form is still paper-based for example, meaning it has to be posted and scanned at the other end. By mandating that all communication is electronic, the whole process could be much quicker, more environmentally friendly and less stressful.

2          Real-time communications
We wondered why we always got emails sent on behalf of our solicitor just after 4pm. Then we realised – he’d dictated them to his PA in time to get them in the post, but rather than appearing as a letter it had just been turned into an email. While this saves some time it doesn’t deliver real-time answers that people demand (and which could dramatically speed up the process).

3          Getting a mortgage
Criteria for mortgage applications have been tightened following the easy lending that preceded the banking crash. That’s understandable, but there’s no common sense in the process now. It took weeks to get a telephone appointment with our bank to go through our personal details and outgoings – and then when the mortgage rate changed we had to do the whole thing again in order to get a better deal. And we had to talk to the same advisor (who was on holiday), adding more time to the process. Being able to re-use answers you’ve already provided, within a reasonable timeframe, would be more efficient for the bank as well as avoiding customer frustration.

4          Money transfer
On completion day, it takes forever for the purchases to take place. The money from the purchaser at the bottom of the chain goes to the solicitor for the house they are buying, who then pays the next person and so on. This is all logical but is incredibly slow – in an era of online banking where you can transfer money instantly, this is another area that needs addressing as it is inefficient and time-consuming. Our buyer’s removal van was waiting outside our (old) house for the money to go through – it then took another hour to complete on our purchase.

5          Changing address
After you’ve moved you then need to update your details with everyone from your bank to HMRC. What amazes me is how difficult some people make this. In an online world you’d imagine it would be straightforward to change the address a magazine subscription is delivered to – but in many cases I’ve had to email to get details changed rather than just amending my address online. A central portal to change all your official details might sound a bit Big Brother to some people but I would prefer it to having to wade through hundreds of sites, remembering seldom-used passwords in order to tell companies I’ve moved.

As you can probably tell, the whole moving process has left me frustrated at the missed opportunities to speed things up and make it more efficient for everyone. I don’t think it is on any party manifesto, but reforming house buying would surely be a vote winner given the stresses and traumas it creates. And having moved into our lovely new house, I won’t be leaving in a hurry…………..

The Royal Society Announces Election of New Fellows 2015


The Royal Society has announced the election of its new Fellows, including four Cambridge University academics, who join an eminent list of scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth.

The scientists elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society this year are leaders in their fields and have contributed much to the scientific endeavour

Paul Nurse, the Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The Fellows elected from the University of Cambridge are:

Professor Ali Alavi – Department of Chemistry

Professor Jane Clarke – Department of Chemistry

Professor Anthony Edwards – Gonville and Caius College

Professor Zoubin Ghahramani – Department of Engineering

Dr Katen Patel – MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: “Science and its application are at the core of so many aspects of our modern lives. From treating infectious diseases, to building safe bridges and tunnels, searching out life on other planets and even vacuuming our living rooms, science helps us understand ourselves better and it makes life better.

“Without scientific knowledge, we might not be able to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time: food shortages, climate change and tackling diseases.

“The scientists elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society this year are leaders in their fields and have contributed much to the scientific endeavour. We are delighted to welcome them alongside the likes of great British scientists such as Newton, Boyle and Darwin.”

View the full list of new Fellows and Foreign Members.


Fish Born in Larger Groups Develop More Social Skills and a Different Brain Structure

New research on a highly social fish shows that those reared in larger social groups from the earliest stage of life develop increased social skills and a brain shape, or ‘neuroplasticity’, which lingers into the later life of the fish.

Fish reared in large groups showed more submissive and less aggressive behaviour to big fish in the group, social behaviour which greatly enhances the survival chances of smaller fish

Stefan Fischer

A new study shows that cichlid fish reared in larger social groups from birth display a greater and more extensive range of social interactions, which continues into the later life of the fish. Researchers say this indicates the fish develop more attuned social behaviour as a result of early environments.

The researchers also found that those fish raised in a more complex social environment have a different brain structure to those who experienced fewer group members in early life. If fish experienced the complex social environment for 2 month they had a larger hypothalamus: the area that contains most of the brain nodes of the ‘social behaviour network’. They also had a larger ‘optic tectum’, which processes visual stimuli and could be related to the need to process more visual stimuli in larger groups, say researchers.

The brains of fish with enhanced social skills were not bigger overall than those reared in small groups; however, the ‘architecture’ within the brain was different.

“Our data suggests that, during development, relative brain parts change their size in response to environmental cues without affecting overall brain size: increasing certain parts forces others to decrease concurrently. These ‘plastic’ adjustments of brain architecture were still present long after the early stages of social interaction,” said study author Dr Stefan Fischer, from Cambridge University’s Department of Zoology.

“Social animals need to develop social skills, which regulate social interactions, aggression and hierarchy formations within groups. Such skills are difficult and costly to develop, and only beneficial if the early social environment predicts a high number of social interactions continues to be critically important later in life,” he said.

For the study, published this week in the journal The American Naturalist, researchers used the Neolamprologus pulcher (N. Pulcher) breed of cichlid, primarily found in Lake Tanganyika – the great African freshwater lake that feeds into the Congo River.

N. Pulcher lives in family groups with up to 25 individuals, with one breeder pair and several helpers participating in territory defence and raising of offspring – known as ‘cooperative breeding’. To test for social skills, the researchers reared juvenile fish over two months with either three or nine adult group members, and observed all social behaviours at key experimental points.

These interactions included ‘lateral display’ – when one fish interrupts another by displaying their body side-on, sometimes as a mating ritual – as well as ramming, tail quivering, and ‘mouth fighting’: a social display in which fish lock mouths to challenge each other over everything from food to mates.

Six month after this test phase, individual fish brains were measured to investigate the long term consequences of early group size on brain morphology, revealing differences in brain architecture.

The researchers say that one of the effects on social behaviour in larger groups might be the perception of environmental risk. “In the wild, larger social groups of N. Pulcher represent a low-risk environment with enhanced juvenile survival. Being part of a larger, safer group may increase the motivation of juveniles to interact socially with siblings, enhancing the opportunities to acquire social skills,” said Fischer.

As perhaps with any social creature, Fischer points out that higher social competence and the ability to conform to social hierarchies may well stand the cichlids in good stead in later life:

“Group size for these fish stays relatively stable across the years, they have delayed dispersal. Remaining in a larger group means a better chance of survival. Fish reared in large groups showed more submissive and less aggressive behaviour to big fish in the group, social behaviour which greatly enhances the survival chances of smaller fish.”

Fischer added: “In highly social animals, such as cooperative breeders, almost all activities involve social interactions, where individuals need to adequately respond to social partners. In larger groups, these interactions are more common and individuals developing sophisticated social skills during childhood might highly benefit from them later in life.”

– See more at:

HP sues former Autonomy leaders for $5.1bn, alleging fraud

HP sues former Autonomy leaders for $5.1bn, alleging fraud



Hewlett-Packard (HP) is suing Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch and former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain for about $5.1bn (£3.4bn).

HP is suing for alleged fraud. Separately, Mr Lynch and the former management of Autonomy plans to sue HP for more than £100m, alleging “false and negligent statements”.

US-based HP bought software firm Autonomy in 2011 for $11bn.

HP later wrote down the value of its purchase by three quarters.

Industry observers suggested there may have been problems with due diligence before Autonomy was bought. HP purchased Autonomy with the aim of moving more into software.

But shortly after buying it, HP claimed it had been misled by Autonomy as to the firm’s true value.

Earlier this year, the Serious Fraud Office closed its investigation into Autonomy’s sale, saying that “on the information available to it, there is insufficient evidencefor a realistic prospect of conviction.”

It ceded legal jurisdiction to US authorities. Mr Lynch and Mr Hussain have consistently denied any allegation of impropriety.

UK claim

HP said in an emailed statement that: “HP can confirm that, on 30 March, a Claim Form was filed against Michael Lynch and Sushovan Hussain.

“The lawsuit seeks damages from them of approximately $5.1 billion. HP will not comment further until the proceedings have been served on the defendants,”

HP said it had filed its claim in London’s Chancery Division High Court.

Meanwhile, representatives for Mr Lynch and his colleagues said in a separate statement: “The former management of Autonomy announces today they will file claims against HP.

“Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch’s claim, which is likely to be in excess of £100 million, will be filed in the UK.”

Late last summer, Autonomy filed papers in a San Francisco court accusing HP of “mismanagement” of the takeover.

Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, said then that HP wanted to “cover up its mismanagement of the Autonomy integration”.

At the time HP dismissed Mr Hussain’s complaint as “preposterous”.

St John’s Innovation Centre welcomes new Entrepreneur in Residence

St John’s Innovation Centre welcomes new Entrepreneur in Residence


We are delighted to announce the appointment of Soraya Jones as our new Entrepreneur in Residence. Dr Jones, who was the founder-CEO of the successful Cambridge Wireless from 2007 until March this year, will be responsible for business support for companies at the Innovation Centre.

Soraya Jones Entrepreneur in Residence at St John's Innovation CentreWe are delighted to announce the appointment of Soraya Jones as our new Entrepreneur in Residence.

Dr Jones, who was the founder-CEO of the successful Cambridge Wireless from 2007 until March this year, will be responsible for business support for companies at the Innovation Centre. Soraya will also develop key international partnerships by further enhancing the prestigious reputation of the Centre as an Innovative hotspot in the region.

Soraya commented: “I feel honoured to be working at a vibrant place like St John’s Innovation Centre. Its position in the Cambridge cluster and international standing provide strong foundations for future expansion. I am excited at the prospect of helping tenants accelerate their growth and forming partnerships with similar centres in the UK and in Europe.”

David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre, says: “It’s a great advantage for us to have found someone of the calibre of Soraya. She is already well-known here because Cambridge Wireless began in our back office and remained at the Innovation Centre until it outgrew the available space in 2013.

Soraya combines a detailed understanding of the Cambridge market with the international vision and expertise the Centre needs for the future. I very much look forward to working with her.”

Born in Malaysia, Soraya holds BSc and MSc degrees from Indiana State University and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Before setting up Cambridge Wireless (which she grew to a membership of 400 companies, with 20 industry Special Interest Groups), she served as Director of Commercial Partnerships at Tribal plc and Programme Development Manager at the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry.

We look forward to working with Soraya and welcome her to the SJIC team.

Moore’s Law – Will It Make 60?

Moore’s Law – Will It Make 60?


An old computer in a glass cabinetFifty years ago, engineer Gordon Moore wrote an article that has become the bedrock of computing. Moore’s Law, as first described in the article, states that the number of elements that could be fitted onto the same size piece of silicon doubles every year. It was then revised to every two years, and elements changed to transistors, but has basically held true for five decades. Essentially it means that computing power doubles every two years – and consequently gets considerably cheaper over time.

What is interesting is to look back over the last 50 years and see how completely different the IT landscape is today. Pretty much all companies that were active in the market when Moore’s Law was penned have disappeared (with IBM being a notable exception and HP staggering on). Even Intel, the company Moore co-founded, didn’t get started until after he’d written the original article.

At the same time IT has moved from a centralised mainframe world, with users interacting through dumb terminals to a more distributed model of a powerful PC on every desk. Arguably, it is now is heading back to an environment where the Cloud provides the processing power and we use PCs, tablets or phones that, while powerful, cannot come close to the speed of Cloud-based servers. This centralised model works well when you have fast connectivity but doesn’t function at all when your internet connection is down, leaving you twiddling your thumbs.

Looking around and comparing a 1960’s mainframe and today’s smartphone you can see Moore’s Law in action, but how long will it continue to work for? The law’s demise has been predicted for some time, and as chips become ever smaller the processes and fabs needed to make them become more complex and therefore more expensive.

This means that the costs have to be passed on somehow – at the moment high end smartphone users are happy to pay a premium for the latest, fastest model, but it is difficult to see this lasting for ever, particularly as the whizzier the processor the quicker batteries drain. The Internet of Things (IoT) will require chips with everything, but size and power constraints, and the fact that the majority of IoT sensors will not need huge processing power means that Moore’s Law isn’t necessary to build the smart environments of the future.

Desktop and laptop PCs used to be the biggest users of chips, and the largest beneficiaries of Moore’s Law, becoming increasingly powerful without the form factor having to be changed. But sales are slowing, as people turn to a combination of tablets/phones and the processing power of the Cloud. Devices such as Google Chromebooks can use lower spec chips as it uses the Cloud for the heavy lifting, thus making it cheaper. At the same time, the servers within the datacentres that are running these Cloud services aren’t as space constrained, so miniaturisation is less of a priority.

Taken together these factors probably mean that while Moore’s Law could theoretically carry on for a long time, the economics of a changing IT landscape could finish it off within the next 10 years. However, its death has been predicted many times before, so it would take a brave person to write its epitaph just yet.

World first for artificial pancreas team

World first for artificial pancreas team


The first natural birth to a mother with diabetes who has been fitted with an artificial pancreas took place this week. The device has been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge.

The artificial pancreas is an exciting new technology that may help us to treat diabetes in pregnancy and create a group of healthier mothers and babies

Helen Murphy

Body artist Catriona Finlayson-Wilkins from Norfolk has type 1 diabetes, but used an artificial pancreas to produce insulin throughout her pregnancy. She gave birth to a boy at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Tuesday. She is the first mother in the world to use the device to give birth outside the main research site at Cambridge University Hospitals. Three mothers have previously given birth, but all via caesarian section.

Women who have diabetes in pregnancy face higher rates of birth defects, oversized babies, pre-term delivery and stillbirth than other pregnant women. It is estimated that up to one in twenty women giving birth in England and Wales have either pre-existing diabetes or gestational diabetes and the number with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is rising.

Body artist Catriona Finlayson-Wilkins

The technology is being trialled by the Closed Loop in Pregnancy study, based at the Metabolic Research Laboratories at the University of Cambridge The pancreas is the organ which produces insulin, which is one of the main hormones that help to regulate blood glucose levels.  In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells that produce insulin are attacked by the body’s immune system so an artificial pancreas can help to maintain insulin production, keeping the symptoms of diabetes at bay.

The artificial pancreas device system is a small, portable medical device that is being designed to carry out the function of a healthy pancreas in controlling blood glucose levels in women with Type 1 diabetes. It uses digital communication technology to automate insulin delivery. The system is worn externally on the body, and is made up of three functional components: continuous glucose monitoring, a computer algorithm (mathematical instructions which calculate the insulin dose), developed by Director of Research Dr Roman Hovorka, and an insulin pump. These three components are termed an artificial pancreas or ‘closed loop’.

Full results of the study are expected to be published later this year.  If the findings are positive, this may pave the way for the technology to become available for more women with diabetes who conceive in the future.

Dr Helen Murphy, Senior Research Associate/Honorary Consultant Physician at the Metabolic Research Laboratories and the Principal Investigator of the study, says that the first natural birth using the technology represents an exciting step forward in the treatment of diabetes in pregnancy. “The artificial pancreas is an exciting new technology that may help us to treat diabetes in pregnancy and create a group of healthier mothers and babies.”

Dr Zoe Stewart, a Gates Cambridge Scholar and Clinical Research Fellow on the study, said: “Treating diabetes in pregnancy can be particularly challenging because hormone levels are constantly changing and blood sugars can be difficult to predict. I study new treatments for diabetes in pregnancy and it’s great to see our research helping mums have healthier pregnancies.”

The research has been supported by Gates Cambridge, Diabetes UK and the National Institute for Health Research.


Sepura Proposed Acquisition of Teltronic

Sepura Proposed Acquisition of Teltronic

Source: RNS

Sepura plc, the Cambridge based  leading global provider of critical communications solutions, has announced that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of Teltronic, S.A.U. (“Teltronic”) for EUR127.5 million.


— Reinforces the Group’s position as a leading global provider of critical communications solutions, strengthening its position in Latin America and the US.

— Immediately enhancing Adjusted Fully Diluted EPS and significantly enhancing it in the first full year after Completion.

— Increased scale enabling the Group to deliver larger projects and provide further improved visibility of earnings.

— Continued diversification of revenues into commercial markets with the addition of significant transportation revenue streams.

— Enhances product offering and technical breadth as the analogue to digital migration accelerates.

About Teltronic

Teltronic provides complete wireless voice and data communications solutions, including infrastructure, terminals and software, principally for customers in the public safety, transportation and utility sectors. Its business covers the entire Professional Mobile Radio (“PMR”) value chain, including network infrastructure, terminals and command and control centres. The company operates in over 50 countries serving customers based primarily in Latin America, North America and the EMEA region.

About the Acquisition and the Capital Raising

Sepura has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of Teltronic for EUR127.5 million, to be financed by the partial draw down under its new debt facilities of EUR120 million and the net proceeds of a fully underwritten Firm Placing of 37,389,203 New Ordinary Shares at 130 pence per New Ordinary Share and Placing and Open Offer of 9,149,258 New Ordinary Shares at 130 pence per New Ordinary Share to raise GBP56.9 million, net of expenses . The net proceeds from the Capital Raising will be used to fund the Acquisition and pay the costs and expenses associated with the Capital Raising and Acquisition.

Teltronic generated revenue of EUR62.9 million and adjusted operating profit of EUR8.4 million for the year ended 31 December 2014, giving a 13.4% adjusted operating profit margin. This represented 29.7% and 59.7% year-on-year growth for revenue and adjusted operating profit respectively over the year ended 31 December 2013. Juan Ferro, currently CEO of Teltronic, will lead the enlarged systems and network business of Sepura, along with his senior team.

Gordon Watling, Chief Executive Officer of Sepura, said:

“This is a highly complementary and transformational acquisition which will be immediately earnings enhancing. It brings together two of the market’s growing players, to create a market leading digital Professional Mobile Radio company, with a broader offering and significantly enhanced capabilities.

Teltronic’s business will diversify our geographical reach, growing our footprint in Latin America and enhancing our existing presence in North America, specifically the US; expanding and diversifying our revenue streams accordingly.

As the number and scale of digital radio networks around the world increases, we will have the breadth of portfolio and financial strength to compete for significant new contracts at a high level.”

The Future of Advertising – no ads at all.

times square night 2013


Think about it – what was the last advert you saw that you really remember or which made you take action? The likelihood is that nothing comes immediately to mind. This is ironic as we are now surrounded by more and more ads, whether on the internet, TV or billboards. And they should be increasingly better targeted given that advertisers can see our browsing history, previous searches and even what we Like on Facebook.

Why don’t we remember ads? I think there are three reasons. Firstly, we’re getting better at blanking them out ourselves. Our brains are struggling to cope with the huge amount of information around us, and are therefore becoming more ruthless and ignoring things that aren’t relevant.

Secondly, as well as giving us greater opportunities to see ads, technology is also helping us to skip them. Most of us fast forward through the ads on recorded programmes, and given that more TV is no longer watched live (or on a TV), we can save time by avoiding commercial breaks. Even if you begin watching a recording of a programme on ITV 15 minutes after it starts, you’ll catch up by the end, without missing anything but the ads. Websites are also waking up to the idea that you can offer a premium, ad free product to increase revenues. YouTube is looking at subscription model that means you don’t have to see any ads on the site, for example.

Finally, most ads aren’t actually that interesting anymore. Big budget TV ads still exist, but the vast majority are much more basic and programmatic – you do a search for a toaster, and small, mostly text-based ads then follow your round the internet for a week, appearing on every page you visit for example. The creativity is more in the algorithm that understands your intent, finds a corresponding ad and then keeps tracking you from site to site. It would be physically impossible for the advertiser to create hundreds of creative ads telling you about how their toaster will change your life – there simply isn’t the time or space to do it.

I’m sure there are wonderful long form TV ads out there, but apart from the Christmas campaigns (which have become part of the festive experience) I’m not watching them, and I don’t know who else is either. There don’t appear to be ads that tell your friends about, like the Tango, Guinness or Levis campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s. Too many TV or billboard ads are generic or ‘good enough’ in the eyes of the client, rather than pushing the boundaries. Targeting is replacing creativity as the key factor in success, so what does this mean for the advertising industry?

It could mean the end of ads as we know it. Brands are looking for different ways to engage with customers, so are putting their money into sponsorship of programmes, sports and events, content marketing and campaigns on social media. However swapping the TV ads you’ve always done for a Facebook or YouTube-based programme requires a leap of faith from marketing directors and ad planners alike. At the moment many have added the internet to their campaigns, for example sharing their ads on their own site, Facebook and YouTube and using cut down versions for internet advertising.

However I think that there’s going to be a moment when the advertising industry becomes ‘digital first’ and the swashbuckling creatives and Don Drapers will be replaced by data scientists and content marketers who can use technology to understand and reach audiences, as opposed to untargeted TV ads that may win prizes for creativity but don’t deliver ROI. In many ways this will be a shame, but shows that whatever industry you are in, digital can and will disrupt everything you do.

Listen to your heart: why your brain may give away how well you know yourself


“Listen to your heart,” sang Swedish pop group Roxette in the late Eighties. But not everyone is able to tune into their heartbeat, according to an international team of researchers – and half of us under- or over-estimate our ability.

‘Follow your heart’ has become something of a cliché, but we know that, consciously or unconsciously, there is a relationship between our heartrate and our decisions and emotions

Tristan Bekinschtein

In research published today in the journalCerebral Cortex, a team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, studied not only whether volunteers could be trained to follow their heartbeat, but whether it was possible to identify from brain activity how good they were at estimating their performance.

Dr Tristan Bekinschtein, a Wellcome Trust Fellow and lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, says: “‘Follow your heart’ has become something of a cliché, but we know that, consciously or unconsciously, there is a relationship between our heart rate and our decisions and emotions. There may well be benefits to becoming more attuned to our heartbeat, but there’s very little in scientific literature about whether this is even technically possible.”

A recent study from Dr Bekinschtein and colleagues showed that people with ‘depersonalisation-derealisation disorder’ – in which patients repeatedly feel that they are observing themselves from outside their body or have a sense that things around them are not real – perform particularly badly at listening to their heart. Another study from the team, looking at a man with two hearts – his natural, diseased heart and a replacement artificial heart – found that he was better able to tune into the artificial heart than the diseased one.

Other studies have highlighted a possible connection between heart rate and task performance. For example, in one study, volunteers given the drug propranolol to increase their heart rate performed worse at emotional tasks than the control group. Changing heart rate is part of our automatic and unconscious ‘fight or flight’ response – being aware of the heart’s rhythm could give people more control over their behaviour, believe the researchers.

Thirty-three volunteers took part in an experiment during which scientists measured their brain activity using an electroencephalograph (EEG). First off, the volunteers were asked to tap in synchrony as they listened to a regular and then irregular heartbeat. Next, they were asked to tap out their own heartbeat in synchrony. Then, they were asked to tap out their own heartbeat whilst listening to it through a stethoscope. Finally, the stethoscopes were removed and they were once again asked to tap out their heartbeat.

During the task, when the volunteers were tapping out their heartbeat unaided, they were asked to rate their performance on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘inaccurate’ and 10 ‘extremely accurate’. Once the task was completed, they were asked how much they thought they had improved from 1 (‘did not improve’) to 10 (‘improved a lot’).

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that brain activity differed between people who improved at tapping out their heartbeat and those who did not,” says Andrés Canales-Johnson from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. “But interestingly, brain activity also differed between people who knew whether or not they had improved and those people who under- or over-estimated their own performance.”

Just over four in ten (42%) of the participants showed significant improvement in their ability to accurately tap along unaided with their heartbeat. This is most likely due to the fact that listening to their heartbeat through a stethoscope had allowed them to fine tune their attention to the otherwise faint signal of their heartbeat. In those whose performance had improved, the researchers saw a stronger brain signal known as the ‘heartbeat evoked potential’ (HEP) across the brain.

The researchers found no significant differences in the HEP when grouping the participants by how well they thought they had performed – their subjective performance. This suggests that the HEP provides a marker of objective performance.

In the final part of the test – after the participants had listened to their heartbeat through the stethoscope and were once again tapping unaided – the researchers found differences in brain activity between participants. Crucially, they found an increase in ‘gamma phase synchrony’ – coordinated ‘chatter’ between different regions in the brain – in only those learners whose subjective judgement of their own performance matched their actual, objective performance. In other words, this activity was seen only in learners who knew they had performed badly or knew they had improved.

“We’ve shown that for just under half of us, training can help us listen to our hearts, but we may not be aware of our progress,” adds Dr Bekinschtein. “Some people find this task easier to do than others do. Also, some people clearly don’t know how good or bad they actually are – but their brain activity gives them away.

“There are techniques such as mindfulness that teach us to be more aware of our bodies, but it will be interesting to see whether people are able to control their emotions better or to make better decisions if they are aware of how their heart is beating.”

The research was supported by the Wellcome Trust and the MRC in the UK, and the Chilean National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development, the Argentinean National Research Council for Science and Technology, and the Argentinean Agency for National Scientific Promotion.

Undo Software and CIC Made-up Following $2M Investment

CIC-Undo-Victor Christou-Greg Law


A Cambridge company behind an innovative debugging tool has just raised $2m (£1.3m) in a funding round that brings long term investment company, Cambridge Innovation Capital, together with angel investors for the first time.

Undo Software helps developers make major time and cost-savings by letting them scroll back through their work in real time, a technology it’s been developing since 2007. However, it’s only recently that the company who claims its software could save the industry over £50bn a year by ‘turning back time’ to find the origins of software problems, has picked up a real head of steam having raised a six figure investment sum in 2012,$1.25m 12 months ago and now this latest round.

Co-founder, Greg Law, says the last 12 months has seen significant expansion for the company: “Until last year the company was literally five people in a garden shed. Now we have grown our international sales, with most of our customers in Silicon Valley.”

It also has CIC as a new investor, the first time the Cambridge University inspired investment body has invested alongside the Cambridge Angels syndicate since its launch 18 months ago, a move that senior investment director, Victor Christou, says could help to address the ‘funding gap’ experienced by many early stage, potentially high growth companies.

“Angel support is invaluable for early stage companies as it provides very high-risk capital, resources and access to the contacts that are essential in the formative days of an enterprise. However, many founders reach a point where they need more resources than the angels are able to provide and the company development stalls. At CIC, we aim to play a leading role guiding management and shareholders through this transition into institutional investment.

“Our investment in Undo is a perfect example. It is made alongside Cambridge Angels and has strengthened our relationship with this influential investor group. Hopefully, it will provide a template for future interactions and pave the way for many more promising Cambridge Cluster businesses to raise growth funding rounds.”

Undo Software was founded by programmers Law and Julian Smith (CEO and CTO respectively) out of frustration with the lack of a good debugging tool for Linux, the most widely used computer operating system for enterprise. Almost 50 per cent of a developer’s time is spent fixing bugs and this is particularly problematic if the issues occur after the software is released and operational on a customer site.

Undo’s core technology is a ‘black box’ that allows an application to record itself as it runs, and then save a copy of that recording. If the program crashes the recording can be sent back to the software developer and then replayed to see how and when the problem occurred without the need to recreate it.

The strength of Undo was recognised by Cambridge Angel investor, Dr Robert Brady, founder of stock market listed, commodities trading software firm, Brady PLC and then attracted other major technology and entrepreneurial figures including Robert Swann, the co-founder of Alphamosaic which sold to Broadcom for $123m, Skype co-founder, Jaan Tallinn, and Sir Peter Michael, founder of Classic FM.

Link between proteins points to possibilities for future Alzheimer’s treatments

Researchers have identified how proteins that play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease are linked in a pathway that controls its progression, and that drugs targeting this pathway may be a potential new way of treating the disease.


This is something we can only do by looking at real human neurons

Rick Livesey

Researchers have found that the proteins that control the progression of Alzheimer’s are linked in a pathway, and that drugs targeting this pathway may be a way of treating the disease, which affects 40 million people worldwide. The findings are published today (23 April) in the journal Cell Reports.

The scientists, from the University of Cambridge, found that as a protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP) is broken down into toxic protein fragments called amyloid-beta, it affects changes in the way that another key protein, tau, behaves. Though links between these proteins have been described in earlier work, this research has identified a new association between them, and found that manipulating the rate at which APP is broken down is directly connected to levels of tau.

While it is not known exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, it is known that amyloid-beta and tau build up in the brain, forming ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ which disrupt the connections between neurons, eventually killing them. There are no treatments to stop or reverse the progression of the disease, although researchers are starting to understand the mechanisms which cause it to progress.

Most people who develop Alzheimer’s will first start showing symptoms in later life, typically in their sixties or seventies. However, between one and five percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s have a genetic version of the disease which is passed down through families, with onset typically occurring in their thirties or forties.

The Cambridge researchers used skin cells from individuals with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s and reprogrammed them to become induced pluripotent stem cells, which can become almost any type of cells in the body. The stem cells were then directed to become neurons with all the characteristics of Alzheimer’s.

Working with these clusters of human neurons – in essence, ‘mini brains’ – the researchers used three classes of drugs to manipulate the rate at which APP is ‘chewed up’ by inhibiting the secretase enzymes which are responsible for breaking it into amyloid-beta fragments. By using drugs to increase or decrease the rate at which APP is broken down, they observed that levels of tau can be altered as well.

Earlier research looking into the link between amyloid-beta and tau had found that once the APP gets broken down, a chunk of amyloid-beta gets outside the cell, which triggers increased production of tau. “What we’re seeing is that there’s a second pathway, and that the amyloid-beta doesn’t have to be outside the cell to change levels of tau – in essence, the cell does it to itself,” said Dr Rick Livesey of the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, who led the research.

While the researchers identified this pathway in neurons with the far rarer familial form of Alzheimer’s, they found that the same pathway exists in healthy neurons as well, pointing to the possibility that targeting the same pathway in late-onset Alzheimer’s may be a way of treating the disease.

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We are pleased to see that our investment in this innovative research using stem cell technology is boosting our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms. Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to funding pioneering research and through our Stem Cell Research Centre at the University of Cambridge we hope to unpick the molecular changes that cause dementia, and crucially, to test new drugs that halt disease progression. With 850,000 people living with dementia in this country, investment in research to find new treatments is critical.”

The research also points to the growing importance of human stem cells in medical research. “The question is why hasn’t this pathway been identified, given that Alzheimer’s is so well-studied?” said Livesey. “The answer is that mice don’t develop Alzheimer’s disease, and they don’t respond to these drugs the way human neurons do. It’s something we can only do by looking at real human neurons.”

The research was funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Wellcome Trust.

Is your Press Relations website Cambridge TV ready

Cambridge TV has every intention of promoting a very positive image of Cambridge, its universities, companies and people. You will want your company portrayed on Cambridge TV news and documentary programmes in the best possible way. In the absence of any video material, Cambridge TV will use material off of your Press Relations web area and “stock photos” of your key personnel. building, products etc. You can massively improve your image on Cambridge TV (and other video outlets) by offering a range of “Video Setting shots” in your Press Relations area. For example:- Panning shots of your head-quarters or Cambridge buildings featuring your company name or Logo Dynamic portrait videos of you key staff and staff who might be “in the news”. From a simple leaving or entering a building shot, through a working at desk , to video with the person active in their work. Product videos of packaging and product in operation A Dynamic video logo or “sting” A Logo that moves has much better impact than a static one! And finally don’t forget the rights waiver, giving Cambridge TV the rights to show the material in broadcast, recorded and on the Internet. For more does and don’ts contact Cambridge TV at

Connected Cambridge Website Migration

Connected Cambridge Website Migration

The localhost website  has recently undergone a refresh. It is now based on the open-source WordPress architecture which is able to draw on a wide range of plug-ins and content matching the needs of its rapidly growing userbase

Peter Hewkin for Connected Cambridge say “This upgrade will make the site more friendly for users on smart phones and also provide integration with popular social media, events management and calendar software.” Behind the scenes it will also help to make the site future proof as internet and social media continue to evolve.

While the headline page titles remain the same, the ‘look’ becomes fresher with user driven search, event location maps and new options for members inputting individual jobs (with logos) , news and event articles.

If you spot a bug(!) please contact us on

Connected Oxford will be undergoing a similar makeover in the coming week.

Landmark Event for James Clerk Maxwell Building

Landmark Event for James Clerk Maxwell Building


Topping out event for pioneering new building which will provide a home for blue skies thinking and interaction with industry.

The Maxwell Centre will enable a pioneering way for industry and academia to work together in partnership.
Professor Andy Parker
Pioneering “blue skies” research is a step closer to having a home after a topping out ceremony was held at a centrepiece building on the West Cambridge site.

The new facilities will see research scientists from industry occupying laboratory and desk space alongside Cambridge research groups, with the aim of creating a two-way flow of ideas and exposing the best early career researchers to scientific problem-solving that relates directly to industrial need.

Once completed the Maxwell Centre will offer laboratory and meeting spaces for more than 230 people.

Professor Andy Parker, Head of Department at the Cavendish Laboratory, said: “We aim for world-leading excellence in teaching and research in Cambridge. This requires the best facilities and the Maxwell Centre will enable a pioneering way for industry and academia to work together in partnership.”

The Maxwell Centre will build on the research activity currently supported by the Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability at Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, where the focus has been on original, risk-taking science since its inception in March 2011, emphasising fundamental physics research relevant to areas such as renewable energy.

Pioneering research from the Winton programme, including the new physics of materials that could harness superconductivity to revolutionise battery life, will be able to flourish at the centre.

Many other aspects of fundamental physics will be fostered, including advanced scientific computing, the theory of condensed matter, advanced materials and the physics of biology and medicine.

Professor Parker added that the building work was on schedule and on cost despite adverse weather conditions during its construction and said: “I can see the building rising from my office window. I have been very impressed by the hard work and professionalism of the team, both on-site and at the project meetings which I have attended. I would also like to thank the Cavendish team who have been helping to deliver the project.”

The Centre is named to commemorate physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who was appointed the first Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge in 1871 and who discovered electromagnetism and founded statistical mechanics.

Traditionally topping out ceremonies mark the point at which the final beam (or its equivalent) has been placed atop a building. Elements of construction remain to be carried out at the Centre, which is located between the Physics of Medicine building and the William Gates building on the West Cambridge site. It is due to open its doors in late 2015.Among those present at the ceremony were Professor Lynn Gladden, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, and Francis Shiner, Managing Director of SDC Builders Ltd, the construction contractor carrying out the work on behalf of the University.


Tata Power Successfully Implements Cyan Smart Metering Solution

Tata Power Successfully Implements Cyan Smart Metering Solution

Source: RNS

Cyan (AIM:CYAN.L), the integrated system and software design company delivering mesh based flexiblewireless solutions for utility metering and lighting control, announces that it has successfully deployed what the directors believe to be is the first 865MHz Advanced Metering Infrastructure (“AMI”) commercial volume project in India.

In July 2014, Cyan announced an order from Larsen & Toubro (“L&T”) to provide a complete CyLec(R) AMI solution to Tata Power Mumbai (“Tata Power”), consisting of 865MHz radio frequency (“RF”) modules, Data Concentrator Units, Head End Server software licenses, onsite software installation services and an annual software maintenance contract. The initial contract with Tata Power was for the deployment of 5,000 consumer meters in a district in Mumbai and around 4,000 meters are now live with the remainder expected to be completed before the end of Q2 2015. The Cyan RF modules were installed inside the L&T smart meters that have been deployed by Tata Power. The smart meters, integrated with Tata Power’s control centre, are now providing data to generate customer bills, real-time information on outages and other factors related to the quality of power.

Cyan’s AMI platform supports fully automated, accurate billing for Tata Power. On the last billing cycle, Tata Power achieved 100% success rate in communicating meter readings from the CyLec-enabled meters to their consumer billing system. In addition the AMI platform enables Tata Power to manage grid emergencies with increased efficiency, improving the reliability of the customer’s power supply and optimising peak power demand management.

Tata Power Mumbai is a Tata group company and part of India’s largest integrated power company with a significant international presence and over 500,000 retail customers in Mumbai.

John Cronin, Executive Chairman of Cyan, commented, “I am pleased to update our customers, partners and shareholders that the first volume rollout of Cyan smart metering technology has been a success. The fact that Tata Power was able to achieve a 100% success rate in communicating meter reading data to their billing systems is testament to the reliability of the Cyan sub-GHz radio mesh solution resulting from over 200 man-years of development by our team in Cambridge.

“The success of this project confirms Cyan’s leadership position in providing smart metering solutions to address the pressing power issues faced by both utilities and end consumers in India. I would like to thank Tata Power, L&T and Neosilica for their valued support during the implementation project. We look forward to working on further deployments at Tata Power in due course as well as additional projects with L&T at other utilities. As Tata Power is viewed as a leader in the generation and transmission of electricity, the success of this project will act as an important reference for other utilities evaluating smart metering technologies across India as well as for our customers in other regions around the world.”

Genetic Screening Could Improve Breast Cancer Prevention


Genetic Screening Could Improve Breast Cancer Prevention


A test for a wide range of genetic risk factors could improve doctors’ ability to work out which women are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, a major study of more than 65,000 women has shown.


Breast cancer genes are rarely out of the news, but we’ve now reached a crucial stage at which all this research can be combined to help target screening and advice to those women who need them the most.

Doug Easton

Improving the accuracy of risk analysis using genetic screening could guide breast cancer prevention in several ways – for instance by offering high-risk women increased monitoring, personalised advice and preventative therapies.

The research, a collaboration of hundreds of research institutions led by the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, showed that a test for differences in 77 separate letters of DNA code could indicate a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

The study, the most definitive of its type conducted so far, was funded by a range of organisations including Cancer Research UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and is published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers came up with a ‘score’ for each woman based on the letters they had in each of the 77 positions of their DNA code, using one of the world’s biggest databases of genetic information – called the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study (COGS).

They found a significant link between the score – called a ‘polygenic risk score’ – and a woman’s breast cancer risk. For example, a woman in the top 20 per cent for polygenic risk score was 1.8 times more likely to develop breast cancer than the average woman.

A woman in the top one per cent for the polygenic risk score was more than three times more likely to develop breast cancer than average – corresponding to a risk for these women of around one in three.
The researchers also delved into a range of other elements of each woman’s cancer – such as its type, and the age it was diagnosed. The genetic score was particularly good at predicting risk in women who developed oestrogen receptor positive disease, the type of disease most responsive to hormonal treatments such as tamoxifen.

Analysing this panel of 77 genetic markers – all of which had previously been linked with slight increases in breast cancer risk on their own – was much more accurate in defining risk than previous tests that used fewer markers.

Importantly, the study also suggests that using this genetic testing alongside current measures would make current risk screening methods more accurate. For example, the researchers showed that the risk score could predict breast cancer risk both in women with and without a family history of the disease.

Lifetime risk of breast cancer for women with a history of breast cancer in their close family was 24.4 per cent if they were in the highest-scoring fifth – compared with 8.6 per cent if they were in the lowest fifth.
But for women without a history of breast cancer in their close family, the risks were 16.6 and 5.2 per cent respectively.

Study co-leader Professor Montserrat Garcia-Closas, Professor of Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “Our study is the most definitive so far to show the clear benefits of using genetic testing for a large number of genetic risk factors in identifying women at elevated risk of developing breast cancer. This type of testing could fit alongside other standard risk measures, such as family history and body mass index, to improve our ability to target the best preventive treatments and advice to those women most likely to benefit from them.”

The researchers say it is important to work out how this type of test could be used widely in a healthcare, rather than in a research setting. Currently available tests can analyse a handful of high-risk genes, but outside of looking for changes to these genes in women with a history of breast cancer in their close family, genetic testing is not widely offered to women.

Study co-leader Professor Douglas Easton, Director of the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, said: “Breast cancer genes are rarely out of the news, but we’ve now reached a crucial stage at which all this research can be combined to help target screening and advice to those women who need them the most.

“There’s still work to be done to determine how tests like this could complement other risk factors, such as age, lifestyle and family history, but it’s a major step in the right direction that will hopefully see genetic risk prediction become part of routine breast screening in the years to come.”

Nell Barrie, Senior Science Communications Manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “This study shows how the genetic map of breast cancer that scientists have been building up over the years might be used to identify women most at risk, so we can take steps to reduce their chances of developing the disease or catch it at the earliest possible stage.”

Dr Matthew Lam, Senior Research Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “In recent years we’ve learnt so much about genetic risk factors of breast cancer – in fact Breakthrough researchers had a hand in discovering over 60 of the genetic markers associated with the disease. What’s great to see now is that these findings are starting to be translated into practical methods to predict risk on an individual basis.”

Adapted from a press release from the Institute of Cancer Research.

Mike Lynch promised £100m counter sue to HP’s $5.1bn claim

Mike Lynch promised £100m counter sue to HP’s $5.1bn claim


Mike Lynch has vowed to use British courts to defend his reputation and those of the management behind Cambridge’s largest ever software company, Autonomy, against the ‘smear campaign’ it says Hewlett Packard has been running against them for over two years after the Silicon Valley giant finally came good on its threat to sue.

HP has threatened Autonomy’s management, in particular its former CEO and founder, Dr Mike Lynch, and CFO, Sushovan Hussain, ever since it wrote off $8.8 billion in the value of the Cambridge software company just one year after its acquisition, claiming $5.1bn of it was due to accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and misrepresentations, allegations roundly rejected by Lynch and his management team.

In January this year, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office decided to close its investigation into the acquisition citing a lack of sufficient evidence, though it did say it had handed jurisdiction over some of the allegations to authorities in the US.

Now HP says it has finally made a claim against Lynch and Hussain for the $5.1bn (£3.4bn) figure, providing a single statement: “HP can confirm that, on March 30, a Claim Form was filed against Michael Lynch and Sushovan Hussain alleging they engaged in fraudulent activities while executives at Autonomy. The lawsuit seeks damages from them of approximately $5.1 billion. HP will not comment further until the proceedings have been served on the defendants.”

Lynch immediately countered with his own claim: “The former management of Autonomy announces today they will file claims against HP for loss and damage caused by false and negligent statements made against them by HP on 20 November 2012 and in HP’s subsequent smear campaign. Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch’s claim, which is likely to be in excess of £100 million, will be filed in the UK.”

That for now is only a threat, but with a $5.1bn hanging, it appears that over two years of name calling will finally be settled in the courts.

Horizon plays key role as UK biologics manufacturing receives £6.2m boost

Horizon plays key role as UK biologics manufacturing receives £6.2m boost


Horizon Discovery is to receive up to £652,000 to expand its bioproduction work as part of a £6.2 million funding programme under the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) programme consists of an approximate total £11.3m of costs with approximately £6.2m in grant funding being delivered by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Innovate UK and Birmingham City Council, to support the future needs of biologics manufacturing in the UK.

This initiative will support the future needs of biologics manufacturing and will help develop next-generation production systems so that the most efficacious and cost-effective therapies are made available to patients.

The Cambridge company is part of a consortium led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) on behalf of UCB Celltech and Lonza Biologics and will use to build a high throughput platform to accelerate the development of novel and improved Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell lines.

Specifically, Horizon will introduce specific genetic changes into these CHO cell lines, allowing better decisions to be made on potential performance improvements for biologic drug manufacturing.

Dr Paul Morrill, Horizon Discovery’s president for Products, said the award recognised the importance of strengthening the biomanufacturing supply chain so the next generation of biological medicines could be delivered.

He said: “Enhancing cell line function through gene editing is a critical path activity towards this outcome. This initiative, alongside the recent Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst funding, further reinforces Horizon’s reputation as a driver of innovation for biomanufacturing.”

Johnson and Johnson buys Cambridge Start-up with revolutionary anti-coagulant

Johnson and Johnson buys Cambridge Start-up with revolutionary anti-coagulant


Johnson & Johnson has acquired a fledgling drug discovery startup built on an antibody with startling anticoagulant properties that could radically reduce the rates of strokes and heart attacks was discovered by chance at a Cambridge hospital.

XO1 Limited launched less than two years ago with the plan to develop a single therapy based on the new anti-thrombin antibody ichorcumab, discovered after the blood of a woman with a head injury in a Cambridge A&E department was found to exhibit unique anticoagulant behaviour, the blood thinned, but the bleeding halted naturally.

Ichorcumab has been developed to mimic the activity of this human antibody which appears to produce an anticoagulated state without predisposition to bleeding. Such a therapy has the potential to greatly reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which are caused by clots to blood vessels, as all anticoagulants developed to date also increase the risk of bleeding, which can prove fatal – a safe anticoagulant without the bleeding would be transformative and a potentially huge blockbuster drug.

It is this technology that J&J subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is acquiring for an undisclosed sum less than two years after XO1 launched, backed by $11 million from Index Ventures with further support from Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation division at the university, which held a stake of around 15 per cent in the company.

Peter DiBattiste, head of Global Development, Cardiovascular, at Janssen Research & Development, said Ichorcumab would complement its existing cardiovascular portfolio. “Given Janssen’s leadership in the fields of anticoagulation and biologics, we are well positioned to explore the potential of this next generation anticoagulant,” said DiBattiste.

XO1 was set up as a privately held asset-centric virtual company, which meant its work was almost entirely sub-contracted, allowing it to keep its workforce and overheads to a minimum.

CfBI Medical Adherence Consortium Inaugural Meeting Held at BUPA House

CfBI Medical Adherence Consortium Inaugural Meeting Held at BUPA House

Did you know that…

  • Up to 50% of patients do not take their prescribed medication?
  • Up to 10% of all hospital admissions are due to medication-related problems including those caused by drugs not being taken, or being taken incorrectly?
  • That the cost of patients not following their prescribed treatment regime correctly is estimated to cost health care systems around the world over $300bn annually?

The term used to describe the correct taking of a prescribed course of medical treatment is ‘medical adherence’. Poor medical adherence is a big problem – described by the WHO as ‘a worldwide problem of striking magnitude’.

The Centre for Business Innovation Medical Adherence Consortium is a group of organisations all of whom have an interest in the problem of poor medical adherence and a shared belief that technology might be a part of the solution. This group met for the first time at BUPA House in London towards the end of February. Organisations as diverse as BUPA, GlaxoSmithKline, AbbVie, Tunstall, Janssen, Proteus Digital Health, NICE and others discussed the key areas that need to be addressed if progress is to be made in this difficult area.

The group identified areas where common obstacles to improving poor adherence are thought to lie including:

  • Economic / financial considerations: ensuring that good adherence makes economic sense for all actors.
  • Standardisation: agreement around terminology, identification of gaps in information and other standards and planning to address these.
  • Regulation: identification of key obstacles to improved adherence associated with regulation and determine the best way of engaging with the regulator to jointly determine if and how these might be addressed.
  • “Case studies”: identification and dissemination of success stories to encourage wider engagement with the subject of adherence.
  • Measurement / data: understanding problems around measurement of adherence, identifying and disseminating baseline measurements, agreeing standard approaches to measurement.
  • Sustainability: ensuring that any adherence approaches are not only affordable but are sustainable for the long term.

Future meetings will develop these themes and look to make concrete progress in each of them – helping to address some of the problems preventing progress in the difficult area of medical adherence.

For details contact:

What it takes for a foreign business to break into China

What it takes for a foreign business to break into China

Source: BBC World Business – Business Daily Broadcast

Ting Zhang, CEO of China Business Solutions was invited to be on an exclusive panel of experts at the BBC Broadcasting House to discuss the ever changing landscape of ‘Doing Business in China’.

As the world’s second largest economy and soon to overtake the United States, China remains the country that businesses, both small and large, would like crack. Over recent years high profile trade missions and even Royal visits have been designed to pave the way for British companies. With a rapidly growing middle class, where consumption is now overtaking investment as the main driver of economic growth, China remains a contradiction – a golden opportunity and successful endeavours for businesses on the one hand and disasters on the other, where foreign companies have got it terribly wrong in China. So as China’s economic growth slows and continues to move from a manufacturing based economy to a consumer driven economy, how then do British business walk the right path of success.

In this recorded live broadcast, many useful issues were addressed from the slow down of the Chinese economy, to regulations, IP, corruption and the value of a contract. Ting Zhang addressed many of these issues in particular a key point that ‘of knowing the right way to build a relationship in China, because in China, doing business in based on trust’.

Market entry advice was discussed and although ecommerce is an exciting route to enter the Chinese market, careful planning and advice is important to avoid the pitfalls. Understanding the channels of entry with ecommerce and social media platforms ideally should entail having some in-house experience, with insight knowledge and practise of using China’s ecommerce. It is complex and requires a well planned social media strategy.

Ting indicated that China Business Solutions when working with many British SME’s, the first task is to explore with the company if there is a market for them. She said “one cannot assume that anything will sell in China, so finding the right market and right partner is essential”. More recently in the creative industry, with online gaming, identifying and finding the right partner has been key to the success of a British gaming company.

As China continues to move from a manufacturing to services to a more consumer power economy, there are many prospects for British business. Understanding the culture, avoiding mis-communication and getting good advice is essential. Although GDP is lower than before at 7%, this brings with it stability and quality offerings with heritage and good customer service will do well.