Orla Protein Technologies reached the finals of a national competition organised by The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - the UK government's funding agency for research in the non-medical life sciences.
The company, which was one of two runners up, was awarded £10,000 to help finance the development of the business, based on ideas emanating from the laboratories of Jeremy Lakey, Professor of Structural Biology at the University.
The company will develop products based on patented technology for the creation of functional protein interfaces which have broad applications in drug discovery, diagnostics and biotechnology industries.
A team of scientists from University College London picked up the £20,000 first prize. They are starting a new business, called medOptica.
Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Innovation, who presented the awards, said:
"Turning new ideas into prosperity and jobs is essential to our future economic and social well being.
"The Bioscience Business Plan competition plays an important role in this process. It also provides vital mentoring and expert advice to people who are thinking of setting-up companies.”
The Newcastle University team was one of six taking part in the final of the Bioscience Business Plan Competition in London. To take part in the competition, each team had to submit a business plan based on an idea sparked by their scientific research.
More than 40 teams entered the first round of the competition in April 2001. Throughout the competition, organised by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council, the entrants received training and mentoring from top industry experts to help them make the most of the business opportunities that lie before them.
The winners of the competition have been judged to have the best plan for taking their idea to market. This includes a demonstration of their appreciation of the market they intend to enter, sources of funding available and likely competition they will face.
Notes for editors:
1.The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK government's funding agency for research in the non-medical life sciences. BBSRC research underpins industries including the agricultural, bioprocessing, chemical, food, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.
2.The BBSRC, MRC, Department of Trade and Industry, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation support the competition.
3.More background information on the competition can be found at: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/skills/plan/Welcome.html
4.For information on the last Bioscience Business Plan Competition go to: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/business/skills/plan/99.html
BBSRC: Andrew McLaughlin, (m) 079 00 58 00 98.
Newcastle University Press Office: Tel: + 44 (0) 191 222 7850. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
published on: 9th May 2002