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Fast forward to January 2020 and armed with her extensive biomaterials expertise and growing knowledge of bacteriophages (viruses which attack bacteria), Stephanie launched OSPT. By incorporating bacteriophages into biomaterials including silk, the company is developing resilient and versatile materials to be used in medical devices for prevention of bacterial infection. This kind of technology is much needed as antimicrobial resistance remains a healthcare scourge.

The silk road to the BioEscalator

Financed by Stephanie and Co-Founder James Gilbert, a vascular access surgeon, plus grant funding from the local enterprise partnership OxLEP, the company started its life at Begbroke Science Park in Oxford. Driven by the requirement to grow the team plus the need to access microbiology facilities and other shared equipment, OSPT arrived at the BioEscalator in the summer of 2021 with one full-time employee.

The company has made ‘astonishing’ progress since then, as Stephanie says. Soon to number six full-time R&D staff in its lab, it has also received further grant funding from OxLEP, INCATEurope and the prestigious NIHR i4i and Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst schemes. It’s quite an achievement to have received three Biomedical Catalyst awards – doubtless helped by Stephanie’s extensive grant writing experience in her previous roles.

‘A sense of commitment’ at the BioEscalator

At the BioEscalator there is a sense of commitment to human healthcare impact and a willingness to be part of the community, according to OSPT’s CEO. Citing the great network, scientific expertise, innovative research and proactive management team at the facility, she describes the environment as unique to the BioEscalator, unlike anything else she’s experienced elsewhere. As well as hosting CxO seminars, events such as the annual Pitch Battle and pizza get-togethers, the management team introduced OSPT to its main investor, a very important outcome!

Looking forward

As it enters its fourth year at the BioEscalator, OSPT is at an exciting stage of development. The company is moving its first external device towards clinical trial readiness, initiating the development work in its first implantable device and developing its partnering strategy. We look forward to seeing it progress, improving patients’ lives and preventing bacterial infection.