One such company is Omass Therapeutics which spun out of the Department for Chemistry in 2016. It utilises high-resolution mass spectrometry to drive drug discovery for immunology and genetic disease and last year received $100million investment to advance its technology. The company has two female founders, a female CEO and a female Vice President. The company also has a gender balanced board.
Nucleome Therapeutics is another female-led company which spun out of the University in 2019. This fast-emerging biopharma uses cutting-edge 3D genome technologies and machine learning to find genetic drivers of disease, and design drugs against them. Last year, the company raised £37.5 million to continue to decode the genetics hidden in the ‘dark’ regions of the human genome and advance its autoimmune disease programmes.
Dr Danuta Jeziorska, founder and CEO of Nucleome Therapeutics, said: ‘I am thrilled to see more women pursuing careers in the biotech industry. During my time at Oxford, I leveraged support from various entrepreneurial initiatives, Saïd Business School, and directed the Innovation Forum and Oxfordshire Women in Tech network. Having access to the right guidance and mentorship is crucial to fostering a diverse business community where women are empowered with the confidence to realise the fullest extent of their ambitions.’
Yet recent research from the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University shows that only 18% of spinout companies have a woman founder and this is reflective of the global picture of women across business and industry where fewer than a quarter hold senior leadership positions.
Through its IDEA programme, the University of Oxford is committed to tackling some of the key challenges and inequalities faced by groups who are currently vastly underrepresented in enterprise and industry across the world. Its first initiatives are aimed at empowering, inspiring, connecting and upskilling more women leaders, business founders and pioneers.