University entrepreneurs scoop healthcare business plan prize
Release Date 15 December 2017
A team of scientists from the University of Reading have won a GSK-sponsored award for best healthcare business plan at a recent innovation competition held at the Royal Society.
The group made up of postgraduate and postdoctoral scientists from the School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy created a fictional company Alauna Diagnostics, and impressed a judging panel at the YES is organised by the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Nottingham, sponsored by the BBSRC, NERC and MRC with significant support from industry such as GSK, P&G, Syngenta and Unilever.with their understanding of the healthcare industry and their devised product- a rapid diagnostic test for endometriosis, a condition affecting 10% of women globally.
Stephanie Bull, a PhD student in the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Alauna Diagnostics Team said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have won the Best Healthcare Business Plan. We have learned so much over the last few months, and this opportunity has given us an insight into how to commercialise research in our future careers both in academia and industry. We have received so much support from the University of Reading, helping us to develop a solid business plan from our initial idea, and further refining it to become something we’re all proud of.”
The YES scheme, now in its 22nd year of competition, sees teams composed of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers compete to create a viable business plan for a hypothetical product that is based on real markets and financial data. The aim is to equip researchers with the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge needed to take innovative research concepts to market and to understand the benefits of collaborative partnerships.
Alauna Diagnostics, the fictional business created by University of Reading scientists, Stephanie Bull, Sophie Jégouic, James Hall, Kane McQuaid and Blessing Nwokocha were awarded Best Healthcare Business Plan in the finals held on Tuesday 12 December. The award, sponsored by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was given to the Reading team who were also one of the runners up in the Biotechnology YES prize.
Dr Malcolm Skingle, Director of Academic Liaison, Worldwide Business Development GSK said:
“The competition showcases the considerable entrepreneurial talent coming through from UK postgraduate and postdoctoral students. The University of Reading team particularly impressed us, not only with their knowledge of the market with their innovative diagnostics product but also their understanding of where value is added by partnering with business. They thoroughly deserved the GSK Best Healthcare Prize”.
Dr Fiona Marston, Chief Executive Absynth Biologics said:
“I have been involved with the Biotechnology YES since its inception and it was fantastic to be a judge again for the competition this year. The judges were really impressed with the business proposal and its presentation by the Reading Team. This is testament to the bright stars emanating from the University but also highlights the impact of the professional support students and researchers can receive from the University’s Knowledge Transfer Centre and Henley Business School starting them on the road to develop good business skills alongside their scientific expertise.”
YES is organised by the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Nottingham, sponsored by the BBSRC, NERC and MRC with significant support from industry such as GSK, P&G, Syngenta and Unilever.
For further information about the YES Competition, see: