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Huge growth helps digital health start-up land place in business awards final

An Oxford-based digital health business has been identified as one of the region’s top three tech start-ups, having grown its workforce by 500 per cent in just 18 months.

Vitaccess, based at the Oxford Centre for Innovation in New Road, has been shortlisted for the Tech Nation Rising Stars Awards.

This comes on the back of sustained success during 2018 in which Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mark Larkin, was named Regulatory Tech Founder of the Year in the BMWi UK Tech Founder Awards.

He was also named runner-up in the CIS Technology Excellence Awards in the Oxfordshire Business Awards and shortlisted as Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 in the Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

A trusted research partner of pharmaceutical companies, clinicians and patient associations, Vitaccess produces real-time data on how diseases and treatments impact people’s everyday lives based on information from tailor-made smartphone apps.

Having launched the business single-handedly in Switzerland in 2014,  Dr Mark Larkin set up its headquarters at the Oxford Centre for Innovation in 2017, expanding his team from three employees to 18 in just 18 months.

Dr Helen Williams, Director of Operations at Vitaccess, said: “We initially set up camp in a shared drop-in workspace at The POD, at the Oxford Centre for Innovation. We were fighting for desks, there was not enough room. The fantastic facilities at the Oxford Centre for Innovation meant we could expand and remain on site.”

Working in the oncology and rare diseases fields, Vitaccess has developed a real-world evidence generation platform currently applied to five live apps gathering wider evidence of peoples’ everyday lives outside of clinical trials. Localised and accessible from all over the world, each app contains reliable knowledge features as well as symptom diaries allowing people to easily note changes in their condition and relay the information to their healthcare team as they wish.

Successful partnerships with clients including Pharnext and bluebird bio led to an internal move into a new 280 sq ft base. Further expansion into another 650 sq ft office will take place in March.

Helen added: “Reaching the final of the Tech Nation Rising Stars awards is a perfect example of why the Oxford Centre for Innovation has been so good for us. Being recognised as one of the UK’s most exciting tech start-ups and named as one of the top three tech start-ups in the South East is testament to the quality of the ground-breaking work we are carrying out from our Oxford base.

From the cost-effective facilities to the central location we are delighted with our set-up here in Oxford. We have received invaluable support from the team at the Oxford Centre for Innovation.

Our revenue tripled last year and since moving into OCFI 18 months ago, we are planning a move into our third office and have grown to a team of 18. Early indications show we are in for a good year – January revenue was 30 per cent up on the whole of last year.”

Mike Foster, Director of the Oxford Centre for Innovation, said: “It is amazing to be involved in a successful 18 months of growth for a business that has been built up through passion and determination.

“This success story is testament to the support provided for all of the businesses based at the Oxford Centre for Innovation.”

Vitaccess is one of 20 companies invited to pitch to a panel of renowned judges, including Warwick Hill, Senior MD and Head of Microsoft for Startups,at a Grand Final taking place at London’s Rich Mix on Tuesday 5 March.

The Oxford Centre for Innovation provides serviced office space solutions for growing and start-up businesses. As well as this, tenants can take advantage of on-site business growth coaching services and training workshops.