YOUNG BIOSCIENCE ENTREPRENEURS ANNOUNCED
Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury meets winners - (1998 competition)
The winners of the 1998 Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Biotechnology YES) are the University of Edinburgh for the undergraduate competition and the University of Cambridge for the postgraduate/postdoctoral competition. The winning teams each received £1,000.
"Schemes like Biotechnology YES typify the kind of investment we need in UK science and, most particularly, in UK scientists," said Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science. "The recurring message from bioindustry observers is that a company's success is dependent on the quality of the management team. Business training for the next generation of bioscientists is therefore a crucial requirement in order to build an industry to lead Europe and, indeed, the rest of world," he added.
This year's Biotechnology YES winners were chosen following a two-day national final held at the Department of Trade and Industry, London, on 14th - 15th December 1998. Six undergraduate and six postgraduate/postdoctoral teams, selected in the regional heats, presented their business plans for 'imaginary' biotech ventures to a distinguished panel of judges.
The University of Edinburgh's undergraduate students winning business plan was for wound dressings to promote ulcer healing which were produced using spider web protein technology and impregnated with recombinant growth factors. The postgraduate/postdoctoral team from the University of Cambridge won with their business plan to commercialise novel transformation technologies for introducing genes into grasses.
Additional prizes were awarded by some of the Biotechnology YES competition sponsors: Eric Potter Clarkson gave a prize to the teams from the University of Edinburgh and University of Leeds for the best consideration of intellectual property in the undergraduate and postgraduate competition, respectively. PricewaterhouseCoopers awarded a prize to the undergraduate team from the University College London and the postgraduate/postdoctoral team from the University of Aberdeen for the plan with the best European focus. Deloitte & Touche gave a prize to the undergraduate students from the University of Nottingham and the postgraduate/postdoctoral students from the University College London for the best finance plan.
Professor John Peberdy, one of the founders of the scheme and Chairman of the organising group, said "The enthusiasm of the participants in this the second year of Biotechnology YES reinforces how important the scheme is to young researchers and students, to the many professionals who speak, monitor and evaluate the competition and to the sponsors. This UK scheme has already become a model for other countries in generating that rare commodity, business-minded scientists."
Professor Ray Baker, Chief Executive of BBSRC and member of the postgraduate/postdoctoral judging panel, said "We were very impressed with the standard of the presentations and would like to congratulate all the competitors on their work. The business plans may be for imaginary start-up biotechnology companies but the considerations and potential problems the students have handled in their presentations are real. The creativity and thoroughness displayed by all is very promising for the future." The BBSRC is one of the main sponsors of the competition.
Notes to editors
- The Biotechnology YES initiative is a joint venture, organised by the BBSRC and University of Nottingham, allowing a greater number of students and young researchers to participate and benefit from the expertise of leading industry figures.
- Sponsors of the 1998 Competition to date include: BBSRC, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Medical Research Council (MRC), University of Nottingham, HCC.De Facto plc, Chiroscience, Deloitte & Touche, Glaxo Wellcome, the Welsh Development Agency, Zeneca, Astra Charnwood, Bioprocessing Ltd, Celltech, Eric Potter Clarkson, Knoll Pharmaceuticals, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scottish Enterprise, PPL Therapeutics and Unilever.
- Finalists in the undergraduate competition were the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, University College London, a team from Imperial College and King's College and two teams from the University of Nottingham.
- Finalists in the postgraduate competition were the University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre, Norwich, University College London, the University of Surrey, the University of Leeds and the University of Aberdeen.
- The ideas developed by the teams participating in Biotechnology YES build on existing technology which is in the public domain or are based on hypothetical scenarios.
- The judging panel for the undergraduate final comprised Dr Barry Ross, Director of Group Research and Strategy Alliances; Glaxo Wellcome, Sue Charles, Chief Executive Officer, HCC.De Facto Group; Mark Golding, Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance and Professor Graham Richards, Non-Executive Director, Oxford Molecular Group plc. The judging panel for the postgraduate/postdoctoral final comprised Professor Sir Tom Blundell, University of Cambridge; Professor Ray Baker, Chief Executive, BBSRC; Dr Paul Haycock, Managing Director, Apax Partners & Co and Dr Fiona Marston, Chief Executive, Metris Therapeutics.
- The winners of Biotechnology YES 1997 were the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, with their plan to commercialise a novel oral insulin-delivery system for the treatment of diabetes - for the Undergraduate Competition; and the University of Reading with their idea of producing genetically modified crops to produce dietary fat for nutritional purposes - for the Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Competition.