NatWest Startups Business of the Year 2012


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Founders: Dr Julie Barnes, Chris Hodkinson, Professor Ian Jacobs Year Started: 2011 Website:

Abcodia is the world leader in biomarker validation and discovery service, operating in the rapidly growing sector focused on the search for cancer biomarkers to diagnose cancer earlier.

Working with University College London, Abcodia has exclusive access to the largest blood serum bio-bank of its kind in the world, which it licenses out to some of the world’s largest diagnostic companies, alongside planning to develop its own intellectual property.

The business has impressed investors, securing funding from Albion Ventures and UCL Business. However, the start-up has managed to operate on a lean, virtual model that relies on the latest in smartphone and online communication technologies to enable the small team of six to manage a rapidly expanding business.

This lean start-up was also awarded the Innovative Business of the Year Award, the overall Natwest Business Startups Business of the Year Award and the Start-up Business Woman of the Year Award, which went to CEO Dr Julie Barnes.

Judges’ comments:

The judges felt that Abcodia shows all the signs of being a genuine game changer. Its potential for making money, while also operating in the hugely important area of early cancer detection, is phenomenal.

Judges were impressed with the exclusive access Abcodia has to a blood ‘bio bank’ that was built over a 10-year period for £30m. The combination of a licensing model, whereby the world’s largest healthcare companies would pay for access to the bio bank, alongside the development of its own intellectual property, could lead to new diagnostic products that have a material impact on combatting cancer globally.

Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.
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