02 Sep 2010 11:11:00.000
A new contest is building bridges between biotechnology researchers and entrepreneurs in the UK and India. Teams of entrants from each country will compete this Friday in Nottingham for two prizes to help them develop their biotechnology and pharmaceutical business ideas into commercially viable ventures.
India’s biotechnology industry is developing rapidly, averaging over 50 per cent growth year-on-year. It is already the third largest in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, Indian universities and scientific research institutes are creating a pool of talented researchers. But lack of support for start-ups remains a challenge.
BioPharm 2020, the UK-India Biotechnology Business Plan Challenge 2010, brings together researchers, academics and industrialists. It will see three shortlisted teams from universities and research institutes across India, and two promising UK teams of researchers, compete for two packages of financial and expert support.
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Contestants will pitch to a Dragons’ Den of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and senior industry figures this Friday, September 3, chaired by Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots.
They are being judged on the final day of UK-PharmSci 2010, this week’s inaugural conference of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the East Midlands Conference Centre on The University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus. This three-day event features some of the world’s foremost experts in pharmaceutical sciences, showcasing the best pharmaceutical talent, alongside new research and technologies.
Teams’ pitches will consist of a business plan (submitted beforehand), a 20-minute presentation, and a non-disclosing research poster display. Finalists were shortlisted at the end of May, and each team has been provided with mentors and specialist advisors to help develop their full business plan and prepare for the final.
Online master classes by industry experts and entrepreneurs covering different aspects of innovation were developed to help research scientists who entered to develop their competition business plan submission.
In addition to Stefano Pessina, the distinguished competition judging panel will comprise:
Jonathan Dando, Managing Director, Dando Weiss and Colucci Ltd;
Lucy Marcus, Managing Director, Marcus Venture Consulting Ltd, a Fellow in Leadership & Innovation at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, non-executive chair of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund, chair of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund Investment Panel, and non-executive director and chair of the board audit committee of BioCity Nottingham;
Professor Nathu Puri, Chairman of Trustees of The Puri Foundation, The Three R’s Education Trust, The Puri Foundation for Education in India, a successful serial entrepreneur and a special professor at Nottingham University Business School;
Ed Wass, Director, Catapult Venture Managers Ltd.
Alliance Boots, co-owned by Italian entrepreneur Stefano Pessina, is developing global strategic interests and helping forge links between the UK and Asia. “I am delighted to be chairing the judging panel for this pioneering new competition,” said Mr Pessina.
“The future of the pharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry depends on research and innovation and on nurturing talent worldwide. Links between universities and industry are essential, and this University of Nottingham-led UK-India Science Bridge initiative shows the way forward.”
Professor Christine Ennew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Science at The University of Nottingham, said: “By combining mentoring and talent across schools, faculties and international campuses here at the University, we’re able to provide a compelling support network to help innovative biotechnology researchers develop and commercialise their ideas.
“This competition has drawn on supply chain and logistics expertise from Nottingham University Business School, the world-leading research knowledge in our School of Pharmacy and our commitment to being globally engaged as a university. We’re pleased to be able to provide the opportunity to compete for business development support to researchers from across the United Kingdom and India.”
Dr Glenn Crocker, Chief Executive of BioCity Nottingham, said: “India is playing an increasingly important role in the global life science industry and so it’s vital that we build strong links. It represents an opportunity for BioCity companies, but we also want to encourage the highly skilled and entrepreneurial Indian people to set up their companies around Nottingham. The UK-India Science Bridge will be very useful in this regard.”
Led by The University of Nottingham in partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, the competition provides support to help the brightest and the best of scientists with promising scientific advances underpinning a business idea to progress their concept towards commercial reality.
The winner of the Best UK Entrant Award will receive a package of benefits worth over £40,000 to assist them in starting up a new company, including a £20,000 cash award for early start-up costs, 12 months’ business start-up facilities at BioCity in Nottingham, mentoring, business advice and more.
The Best India Entrant Award will provide a package of benefits worth over Rs 15 lakhs to assist in starting up a new company, including Rs 5 lakhs cash award for early start-up costs, two years’ incubation facilities at SIDBI-Innovation & Innovation Centre (SIIC) at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, providing room space, accommodation and support with IPR protection costs, lab testing and prototyping costs and more.
The successful shortlisted finalist teams have received team mentoring and support from professional business advisors. Mentors of teams from both countries will attend the final to support their teams.
Journalists are welcome to attend the final by arrangement with Simon Butt or Jenny Townsend.
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More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
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