WD Armstrong Scholar Theresa Maier and Gates Cambridge Scholar Rebekah of the BioScience Engineering Group were invited to Pitch at Palace Bootcamp. There they pitched JustMilk, a venture furthering the development of their doctoral research on a novel device for administering life-saving medicines to infants during breastfeeding.
For the first time, this highly selective competition, initiated by His Royal Highness the Duke of York, took place in Cambridge at the Wellcome Genome Campus. The event focused on biotechnology, with 45 ventures pitching ideas in categories such as medical devices, therapeutics and agriculture.
The event included a series of talks on the entrepreneurial culture of the UK, with speakers including His Royal Highness the Duke of York and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Enterprise and Regional Affairs Prof. Nigel Slater. Three minute pitches were then given by all ventures, of which 14, including JustMilk, won the opportunity to pitch again at St. James’s Palace for Pitch at Palace 5.0.
This unique event aims to accelerate start-ups by facilitating the acquisition of mentorship, partnership or investment from the audience including company CEOs and business angels. All ventures are invited to network at St. James’s Palace for the event, taking place 7 March, but only the winning ventures will have the chance to pitch again.
"JustMilk’s novel drug and nutrient delivery device has the potential to facilitate drug administration in both developed countries and low-resource settings. Through the Pitch at Palace Bootcamp we strove to increase awareness of our technology, addressing the urgent need for hygienic paediatric medicines globally." - Theresa Maier
"We are so grateful to His Royal Highness the Duke of York, his team, and the Pitch at Palace Judges, for not only organising the event, but for providing mentors and pharmaceutical company contacts that could be of lasting importance. We are thrilled to pitch again at St. James’s Palace." - Rebekah Scheuerle.
"In 26 years of charting the Cambridge technology landscape and placing it into a context of global impact, relatively few businesses have caught the imagination as readily and convincingly as JustMilk. We have seen a lot of allegedly breakthrough technologies but the JustMilk proposition really does stack up as a global gamechanger. It will – in our opinion – transform how medicines will be administered to infants, notably in emerging and deprived territories where disease and lack of health education too often generate a lethal and inescapable cocktail due to a chronic lack of hygienic methods of feeding new-borns.
It is important to record another notable distinction about JustMilk Limited. The co-founders at the UK end of the enterprise, Rebekah Scheuerle and Theresa Maier, are not simply another pair of hopeful entrepreneurs peddling a vision; they personally progress the project’s technical development. As such, they are ideally placed to explain the potential of the technology to investors and partners and thereby accelerate engagement and adoption. This dual capability allied to a genuine technology advance within a ‘life or death’ scenario truly is the ‘milk of life.’" - Tony Quested, Business Weekly CEO
The JustMilk project aims to administer therapeutics and nutrients to infants during breastfeeding, thereby providing a hygienic, accurate, and potentially more natural means of drug delivery. The project has previously focused on low-resource settings because the device does not require refrigeration nor potable water for cleaning or suspending medication. Furthermore it does not require literacy for dose measurement, and because it is used during breastfeeding, it would hopefully promote this nutritional practice. This social mission caused the formation of the JustMilk non-profit organisation, but since then the aims have expanded, to include western markets. This inspired Theresa and Rebekah to recently found JustMilk Limited this past November 2015.
At the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Accelerate Cambridge programme, they have received extensive mentorship and support for developing the JustMilk business model. They are now seeking financial support to enable the first clinical investigation of the device, and a pharmaceutical partner to license the technology.
In the run up to Pitch at Palace 5.0, there is an on-going People’s Choice competition, from which the venture with the most votes will win an award.
To vote for JustMilk, click http://188.8.131.52/company/28