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Pitch perfect

JustMilk, a venture supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, wins Pitch@Palace 5.0 (Biotech), convened by HRH The Duke of York, KG.

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JustMilk, a venture that delivers drugs and nutrients to infants during breastfeeding, won first prize on 7 March 2016 in the first biotech-themed Pitch@Palace event at St James’s Palace, convened by HRH The Duke of York, KG.

JustMilk is part of the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, which provides mentoring and support to promising start-up ventures. The winning pitch at St James’s Palace was presented by JustMilk co-founders Rebekah Scheuerle and Theresa Maier, who are PhD candidates at the University of Cambridge Department of Chemical Engineering.

The company’s silicone nipple-shield device holds a pre-measured amount of medicines or nutrients, which is delivered safely and effectively to breastfeeding babies without the need of refrigeration or portable water. It is designed to combat malnutrition, AIDS and other diseases, particularly in the developing world. The device enters its Clinical Investigation stage next year at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. JustMilk includes a non-profit and limited company.

The second-place award at Pitch@Palace Biotech was won by online doctor-booking venture Doctify, and third place went to magnetic blood filtering venture Medisieve – through voting by several hundred people who heard the final pitches at St James’s Palace. The People’s Choice Award, through a wider public vote, was won by prostate cancer detection company Cambridge Oncometrix.

Two of the four award winners have strong ties to Cambridge Judge Business School: JustMilk is in Accelerate Cambridge, part of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, while Medisieve took part in Ignite, one of the Entrepreneurship Centre’s flagship programmes.

The Duke of York, who is patron of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge, congratulated the winners and thanked mentors and others who have contributed to Pitch@Palace over the past three years – helping more than 200 start-up businesses employing nearly 450 people to grow, and generating more than £124 million in economic activity.

The 7 March event was the fifth for Pitch@Palace, and the first devoted solely to biotech. The finalists had “survived” a semi-final Boot Camp hosted by Cambridge Judge Business School on 22 February, held at Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, outside Cambridge. It was the first time the Boot Camp has been held outside of London.

In their winning three-minute pitch for JustMilk, Rebekah Scheuerle and Theresa Maier said they sought investment of £150,000, a pharmaceutical-company partner and a brand ambassador. Each of the finalist ventures was urged to make “an ask” as part of their pitch before several hundred people, many involved in biotech entrepreneurship and investment.

After winning the top prize, Rebekah and Theresa greeted well-wishers under a huge painting of Charles XI, King of Sweden (1655-1697) astride a horse, at a reception inside St James’s Palace.

“This is huge,” Rebekah said of JustMilk’s first-place showing. “It will help to create a much broader awareness of our technology.”

“This was such an amazing audience tonight,” added Theresa. “This award gives a voice to infants globally and helps to meet their needs.”