A University of Oxford spin-out biotechnology company has won a prestigious award.

HydRegen won the 2024 Golden Ticket award, a programme backed by Pioneer Group and CPI that recognises innovations in planetary health.

The programme was open to hydrogen and climate technology companies that offer solutions to pressing global problems.

Successful applicants joined virtual venture development workshops and six shortlisted companies were selected to pitch for the grand prize on March 27 as part of a wider Planetary Health event run by Pioneer.

The winning team, pitched by chief operating officer Dr Matthew Hodges, was selected by judges representing Innovate UK, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Tees Valley Combined Authority, as well as Pioneer and CPI.

As an offshoot of the University of Oxford's Department of Chemistry, HydRegen enables more sustainable chemical synthesis and manufacturing by replacing toxic, heavy-metal catalysts in chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, utilising hydrogen as a feedstock within their processes.

Their operating technology helps to minimise waste and facilitates a continual chemical flow.

Their victory in the Golden Ticket programme ensures they will benefit from a year-long span of venture development support with Pioneer, along with ongoing innovation assistance from CPI.

This will involve one-to-one technology advice, consultancy, bid development, and access to testing facilities.

HydRegen will also gain entry to Pioneer's incubation space at the Wilton Centre for scale-up work.

Holly Reeve, chief executive officer at HydRegen, said: "We are delighted to win the Golden Ticket award.

"Access to incubation and support at such a prominent site with so much expertise and specialist facilities for biotech and hydrogen related scale-ups will fast-track our growth over the coming months."

Lisa Thomas, director and venture development partner at Pioneer, said: “Through our partnership with CPI, it has been a privilege to see the depth and breadth of hydrogen technologies in development across the UK, with HydRegen being a shining example and a worthy winner of this programme.

"Hydrogen and green tech companies are bringing opportunities to transform our industrial approach and counter the negative impact humans have on the planet. Through Pioneer Group’s programmes and incubation spaces, we aim to maximise the impact of these companies and allow them to focus on their science."

Ian Smith, head of Investment Partnerships at CPI, said: "Pioneer has deep expertise in venture development, experience in running accelerator programmes, and offers high-quality incubation space, making them the perfect programme partner to help us facilitate these aims and build a cohort of hydrogen companies."