The young Rothamsted scientists walked away with prizes including £1,000 after impressing judges at the final of Biotechnology YES with their hypothetical business plan for a company called Phytofend and its revolutionary product called SlugFast, a genetically modified Hosta plant proven to be a highly effective means of slug control. Hosta is naturally attractive to slugs and the SlugFast variety has been transformed to express a novel appetite suppressing protein, the plant attracts slugs and, upon ingestion, causes them to stop feeding.
Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) is an annual competition organised by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI). It helps young researchers understand how to set up their own biotech company by developing business awareness and the skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs. This year 51 teams of 248 individuals were whittled down to 8 teams in the final through a series of regional heats where they were able to draw on advice from mentors with experience in enterprise, innovation, patent law and equity investment. Other prizes scooped by the Rothamsted Research scientists for their win include sponsored places at the BioIndustry Association Dinner and the opportunity, provided by the UK Trade and Industry, to give a presentation at a prestigious US business plan competition at Rice University in Texas.
Dr Peter Ringrose, Chairman of BBSRC and head of the judging panel, said: " The Rothamsted Research team showed an excellent grasp of the principles of finance, marketing and intellectual property rights needed to be a success should they ever decide to enter the world of commercial biotech. Biotechnology YES has been running for over a decade and the quality of entries continues to climb. Together with the rest of the judging panel I have been hugely impressed by all of this year's finalists and the careful preparation that clearly went into every team's business plan."
Stephen Pearce, who took the role of Managing Director for Phytofend, said:" We are happy and surprised to win. We have learned a lot about working together and how to actually launch a spin-out company. We really didn't know anything before we started on YES but with the help of the mentors we have really learned a lot. We have enjoyed the unique opportunity as its completely different from anything else we would do in out PhDs."
"We would like to thank Gerard Bencen at PBL and Tina Crombie, James Logan and Sarah Dewhirst at Rothamsted Research for their support."
For the first time the final of Biotechnology YES saw a presentation from a team of young scientists representing the environmental sciences. Environment YES, supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is a spin-out from the main competition. The competition was won by a team from Cranfield University with their hypothetical company Green Switch. Their product harnessed scientific breakthroughs to efficiently convert farmyard waste efficiently into electricity.
Ms Poppy Leeder, who manages the Knowledge Transfer Funding Scheme for NERC, said:" This is a really good opportunity to start training scientists in entrepreneurial awareness. I'm very pleased that this year we have been able to open up the competition for environmental scientists to take part."
Profiles for all the hypothetical companies are listed in the Notes to Editors.
Category prizes were awarded to:
- Best consideration of IP strategy sponsored by Eric Potter Clarkson - Phytofend, Rothamsted Research
- Best healthcare business plan sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline - Aptinostics, Imperial College London
- Best medical technology by Smith & Nephew Prize - Nanozorb, University of Manchester
- Best plant science business plan sponsored by Syngenta - Phytofend, Rothamsted Research
- Best presenter sponsored by Tim Hart, Cybersense BioSystems - Leila Shepherd, Aptinostics, Imperial College London
- Pfizer Prize for Innovation - CereAll, Institute for Animal Health
Dr Mark Edwards, Senior Director of Science Policy, Global Research & Development at Pfizer, which sponsored the prize for Innovation, said: "Biotechnology YES showcases the next generation of scientists who are going to preserve the future of clinical and academic R&D in the UK. Success in business requires an understanding of the complete package that includes innovation, intellectual property and the workings of the market and YES gives this to participants."
ContactMatt Goode, Head of Media, BBSRC
Press Office | alfa
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences