Quantum technology and blood analysis idea wins Cambridge scientists best young biotech entrepreneur title
Winning Cambridge Bioscientists: (from left to right) Eliot Read, Tobias Pawliczek, Anne Lo, Zhaoru Lin and Shohta Ueno.
A team of bioscientists from the University of Cambridge were last night named as the best young biotech entrepreneurs in a national competition run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI). The team scooped top prize in the annual Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) by impressing a panel of judges with their proposal for a hypothetical company called Cambridge Quantum Technologies and its revolutionary approach to analysing blood chemistry with a hand-held device that harnesses fluorescing quantum dots.
The Cambridge team beat 64 other teams in regional heats to make it to the final where they overcame stiff opposition from other young bioscientists, with ideas for businesses including year round truffle growing and anti-hayfever nasal inserts, to walk away with the Biotechnology YES 2007 title and prizes including ?,000, a trip to the US and sponsored places at the BioIndustry Association Dinner.
Biotechnology YES is an annual competition, now in its 12th year, that aims to help the UK's young bioscientists gain the skills and contacts needed to turn lab research into commercial reality. Through regional heats across the UK, young scientists competed for places in the final, mentored by a team of advisors which included financiers, intellectual property experts and spin-out company heads.
Dr Peter Ringrose, Chairman of BBSRC and head of the final judging panel, said: "The UK's bioscience sector is world-class but to turn the laboratory science into benefits for the UK economy and society we need scientists with well-honed entrepreneurial skills. The Cambridge team showed an excellent grasp of the principles of finance, marketing and intellectual property needed to be named as the best budding biotechnology entrepreneurs of 2007.
"Biotechnology YES has now been running for 12 years and the quality of all the teams in the final has been exceptional. All the teams that made it through this year impressed the whole judging panel with their ideas and entrepreneurial understanding. I am particularly pleased that this year saw the involvement of a team of researchers from India, the winners of the first ever parallel India YES competition."
Anne Lo, who took on the role of Managing Director for the Cambridge Quantum Technologies team, said: "This has been an amazing experience for all of us. We have learnt an enormous amount about both business strategy and team work. We would like to thank everyone who helped us to arrive at this point."
Category prizes were awarded to:
- Best consideration of IP strategy sponsored by Eric Potter Clarkson - Algatech, University Of Cambridge
- Best healthcare business plan sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline - CHEMeleon Biotech, University of Bradford
- Best medical technology by Smith & Nephew Prize - Optdermis, University of Manchester
- Best plant science business plan sponsored by Syngenta - Algatech, University Of Cambridge
- Best presenter sponsored by Cybersense BioSystems - Aseem Mishra, Probiovision, International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, Delhi
- Pfizer Prize for Innovation - MycelTech, University of York