Hot flushes may become a thing of the past, as Astinno wins East Midlands AHSN Accelerator

On 25 November, five pioneering life science start-ups pitched to a panel of investors as they completed the final part of their journey on the East Midlands AHSN Accelerator, delivered by BioCity.

The panel were blown away by the pitches from the entrepreneurs, with wide-ranging innovations including a health platform for children, a home test for monitoring iron levels, wound dressing and a patented medical device. After careful consideration, the panel announced Astinno as the winner of the programme, whose venture they felt offered the strongest solution. Astinno was awarded a package of business support worth up to £100k.

The London based startup is creating a femtech hardware solution for women experiencing one of the most debilitating symptoms associated with menopause. "Grace" is a smart bracelet using specialist cooling technology to automatically detect and counter menopausal hot flushes night and day.

Pioneers tested their concepts with expert mentors from industry, investment, and healthcare sectors over the eight-week Accelerator programme. This year’s programme ran virtually with sessions and online support provided by the BioCity platform, adapted to suit the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

Peter Astbury, Founder of Astinno said, "Being 3 years into my start-up journey, I was initially hesitant to take part in an Accelerator as I was worried we might be too far along in our development to gain maximum benefit from this type of programme. I needn't have worried - in the last 8 weeks we've had fantastic coaching from BioCity, uncovering lots of valuable insights and re-enforcing a lot of our early research which now provides us with an even stronger focus and proposition for those customers we're looking to help."

"Menopause is an area that has experienced somewhat of a cultural shift in the last few years and this has been realised and evidenced in our new research. Huge thanks go to BioCity and AHSN for supporting us with this. It just shows that Accelerators aren't only suited to those with the seed of an idea but also companies that have already made significant progress on their business and product/service."

Toby Reid, CEO of BioCity Group, said: “This Autumn, the Accelerator programme has seen ventures of an exceptional standard. Astinno is a brilliant example of an innovation that has been further strengthened by our partnership with East Midlands AHSN. We are delighted to have announced Astinno as the winner of this programme and look forward to supporting their continued success.”

The search for life-science pioneers will continue in the new year, as the next EMAHSN Pre-Accelerator programme launches in February 2021. More information here




Notes to editors:

About BioCity

Home to more than 200 companies, BioCity is a pioneering life science incubator and business collective. Where ideas become reality, investment flows and businesses succeed.


Not the typical business incubator, BioCity takes a holistic approach to business support. Offering entrepreneur coaching, investment, flexible lab and office space and PAYG services within a UK-wide business collective.  


Founded in 2002 by the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, BioCity originated in a former BASF Pharma research facility in Nottingham city centre.


In 2012 BioCity acquired the MSD research facility in Newhouse near Glasgow to create Glasgow, BioCity. This was closely followed by a second site in Nottingham, MediCity, which is located on the Boots campus and is a collaboration with Walgreens Boots Alliance. In 2016 the Newhouse site was further expanded to create Glasgow, MediCity. BioCity also operates at Alderley Park, Cheshire, Aberdeen and Newcastle.


The company has made 30+ investments in early stage companies and has delivered a healthy growth in portfolio valuation. Funds are deployed from its own cash reserves and from a joint venture vehicle with AstraZeneca which BioCity manages.


In 2017, BioCity was identified as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies in the Financial Times’ FT 1000 report. The BioCity model of ‘support from inception to incorporation’ initially challenged the industry standard but quickly became the industry leader due to the unprecedented survival rates of BioCity based businesses.


For more information visit