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
Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy