Two SLS entrepreneurs make Converge Challenge Final

Published on 19 September 2019

Two academic entrepreneurs from the division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery have made the final of the Converge Challenge 2019.

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Two academic entrepreneurs from the division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery have made the final of the Converge Challenge 2019.  Andrew Woodland (In4Derm) and Michael Conneely (Ten Bio) will now go head-to-head against six other entrepreneurs leading both start-ups and spin-outs at the Converge Awards Final which takes place at the iconic V&A, Dundee later this month.  

For the first time in the Programme’s history, women founders outnumber men (55%). Climate change and health care also lead the charge this year with the shortlisted projects spanning everything from a human skin culture system that mimics living skin and a flat-pack, solar collector providing an affordable source of clean heat for people in developing countries through to a computer game aimed at gamifying the physiotherapy routine for children suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Finalists are now chasing a prize package of equity-free cash and in-kind business support totalling £220,000 which will be shared across three challenge categories: Converge Challenge, Creative Challenge and Impact Challenge.

Converge Director, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo comments, “Innovation has never been more important that it is today, not just in terms of generating economic growth, but also as a solution to some of society’s most urgent challenges including climate change, social inclusion and public health. The calibre of this year’s Converge finalists is proof positive that our Universities are playing a pivotal role in the enterprise agenda and are at the forefront of innovation for the public good. By working closely with all Scotland’s Universities, we help the most creative thinkers from academia to turn their discoveries and ideas into commercially viable businesses. We are delighted to be working with such a strong cohort of innovators and look forward to springboarding their success”

About the SLS Finalists

Ten Bio

Michael Conneely and Dr. Robyn Hickerson have created a patented, human skin culture system that mimics living skin.  This real human skin system will allow pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies to fill the unmet need for systems that mimic intact, living skin, providing an alternative for many experiments currently only performed on animals.


In4Derm, created by Dr. Andrew Woodland, creates topical soft drugs to treat unmet medical needs in dermatology. The company develops topical drugs which the body’s natural process can detect and destroy. The drugs are applied as creams, and once they have treated the disease, the body is able to safely remove them.

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