IndieBio EU renamed RebelBio as a port of call for global biohackers

20 Dec 2016

Colourful illustration of cells. Image: Jurik Peter/Shutterstock

As part of a new course, the IndieBio EU accelerator in Cork is to take inspiration from the county by renaming itself as RebelBio, with the addition of a month-long pre-accelerator.

The IndieBio EU accelerator – and its American sister programme IndieBio in San Francisco – has been heralded as a success, since it was founded in Cork in 2014 as the world’s first life sciences commercial accelerator programme.

In the intervening years, we have seen a number of interesting start-ups emerge from within the IndieBio EU here in Ireland, such as Helixworks Technologies, which became the first company in the world to offer DNA storage on Amazon.

From synbio to life sciences

Now, in a new change of focus, the Irish version of the SOSV accelerator has been renamed RebelBio (rebellious biotechnology) as of 16 December.

While once within the small niche of synthetic biology (synbio), RebelBio has now broadened its scope into the open-ended space of life sciences and technology.

With applications open to anyone in the world, RebelBio is looking for citizen scientists, biohackers and bio entrepreneurs of any skill level, be it an undergraduate student or an experienced postdoctoral researcher.

It is worth nothing that priority is given to independent start-ups and PhD students, but this is not a prerequisite to become part of the programme.

In addition to the existing three-month lab accelerator programme offered under IndieBio EU, successful applicants will get access to a business pre-accelerator course that lasts one month, to better prepare them for life as an entrepreneur.

Will expand to two cohorts per year

Rather than branching off entirely, RebelBio will work in tandem with its sister programmes including Hax, Food-X and IndieBio, to engage with biotech start-ups from developed and emerging countries, with the aim to get founders funded faster.

Starting in 2018, it will also expand the scale of the programme to two cohorts a year, with support from University College Cork to recruit 15 companies per programme.

Bill Liao, co-founder of IndieBio and partner at SOSV said of RebelBio: “It is time to cast off the shackles that are holding back many tangible benefits of [technology] enabled through biology from our daily lives.”

Applications are currently open with deadlines being extended to 1 March 2017.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic