2 January, 2008 – Manchester young scientists team wins biotech Young Entrepreneur award
Led by a team of biology research students, Optdermis collected the Best Medical Technology prize at the finals of the UK's Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme in December 2007.
Johanna Donovan, James Kean, Laura Pointing, Morven Cameron and Alex Davies of Optdermis proposed a device that is inserted into the nose to prevent allergens affecting the human body.
64 teams of young scientists from across the UK competed in regional heats during 2007, leading to two Manchester teams – Optdermis and Futurzyme – winning places in the December final.
Alex Davies from Optdermis said: "It’s been a life-changing experience. I am now more aware of things I can do and I now know that the skills I have learned are transferable. It’s helped me understand the process that has to be undergone to achieve commercialisation.”
The competition organised jointly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) aims to help young bioscientists develop entrepreneurial skills and to commercialise their ideas.
Maeve O#Neill of Futurzyme said: "The University of Manchester Incubator Company (UMIC) gave us good advice about learning the principles of biotechnology and putting it into practice. It’s given me an insight into the world I want to go into, and an appreciation of business realities."
UMIC and UMIP business professionals and their network of advisors including new sponsors AstraZeneca, offered advice and mentoring sessions to the candidates during the competition. The teams attended workshops and seminars to learn how to develop their ideas into commercially-viable opportunities.
General Manager of UMIC, Martino Picardo, said: “The YES competition highlights the next generation of scientists with the potential to learn about business creation.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students and am extremely impressed by their enthusiasm, presentation skills, ability to learn and their self-motivation.
"It has also been a pleasure to work with the Bionow team at NWDA who were the major local sponsors and with whom we work closely tobring this event to the northwest."
Source: UMIC press release