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3 December 2008 - PR 08/162

Young entrepreneurial talent from Loughborough University reaches biotech final

A team of bioscientists from Loughborough University have beaten off stiff competition to make it through to the final round of the annual Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) competition where young scientists pitch their ideas to a panel of investors. This national competition is run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI).

The Biotechnology YES final will be held in London on 8 December 2008 where the team will be challenged to impress a panel of judges with their proposal for a hypothetical company called Pro Dia, which has developed a product called WoundTouch®. WoundTouch® is a unique point of care screening test for chronic wounds which allows clinicians to make informed treatment decisions to promote wound closure faster than current treatments. The Pro Dia team, which is part of the Healthcare Engineering Research Unit at the University, is competing against 13 other teams for the Biotechnology YES 2008 title and £1000 prize money.

Pawanbir Singh, managing director of Pro Dia said: “It is a valuable experience for us to learn about entrepreneurial skills and team work, both of which are primary requisites to launch research based products in the commercial arena. I thank all my team members for working exhaustively on our plan to come up with a profitable business case for launching WoundTouch®, and we are looking forward to the finals in London.”

Dr Celia Caulcott, Director of Innovation and Skills, BBSRC added: “For science to contribute significantly to the UK economy, now and in the future, we need to have excellent scientists with vital entrepreneurial skills. This competition gives young scientists an opportunity to develop necessary skills in finance, marketing and intellectual property to ensure that world class research is turned into deliverable benefits for the UK. We wish all of the finalists the best of luck in the final stage of the competition.”

Biotechnology YES is an annual competition, now in its 13th year, that aims to help the UK’s young bioscientists gain the skills and contacts needed to turn research into commercial reality. Through regional heats across the UK, young scientists competed for places in the final, mentored by a team of advisors including financiers, intellectual property experts and spin-out company heads.

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk

BBSRC Media Office
Nancy Mendoza
T: 01793 413 355
E: nancy.mendoza@bbsrc.ac.uk
Matt Goode
T: 01793 413 299
E: matt.goode@bbsrc.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

  1. Biotechnology YES has been running since 1995. Research has found that young scientists participating in the competition are more likely to enter business roles than other young scientists.

  2. The competition is sponsored by 24 different organisations – BBSRC; BIA; The University of Manchester Incubator Company (UMIC); The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd (UMIP); Manchester Investment Agency (MIDAS); AstraZeneca; The North West Development Agency (NWDA); BioNow; Cancer Research UK; Potter Clarkson; Gatsby Charitable Foundation; GlaxoSmithKline; the Medical Research Council (MRC); the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); Nestle; ONE North East; Pfizer; Royal Academy of Engineering; Smith & Nephew; Syngenta; Unilever; University of Liverpool; University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) and Yorkshire Forward.

  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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