A team from The University of Manchester has secured a place in the final of a national competition to find the entrepreneurial scientists of the future.
Cleanzyme beat off stiff competition from other university teams from across the country in the Biosciences NorthWest heat of the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Biotechnology YES) 2014 competition. They will fly the flag for Manchester in December in London at the UK finals where the winning team will collect £2,500, an invitation to attend the BIA Gala Dinner and the opportunity to attend the 2015 Rice Business Plan Competition in Houston, Texas.
From left to right: Michael Winn, Heidi Fisk, Jonathan Latham, Eileen Brandenburger, Graham Heaven
Cleanzyme has developed a revolutionary biocatalytic cleaning technology designed to reduce the downtime of industry-scale chemical reactors by expediting the cleaning process. The CLEANZYME core carries an array of immobilised enzymes which are capable of degrading the most common contaminants found in such reactors, converting them into highly soluble compounds which can be washed away. CLEANZYME have demonstrated that this technology could reduce the time lost by the chemical industry to cleaning by up to 50%, potentially saving the chemical industry millions per year.
Cleanzyme CEO, Eileen Brandenburger, comments: “So far BiotechYES has been an amazing experience. It has opened our eyes to career options for PhD students outside academia and exposed us to all aspects of business. It’s an unrivalled platform for professional and personal development, as well as a fantastic networking opportunity. Throughout the competition we have grown into our business roles and are really looking forward to the final in December.”
Cleanzyme will be joined by University of Liverpool team, Haemotech, developers of a novel ‘plaque-busting’ drug specifically to target the narrowing or blocked arteries caused by cardiovascular disease.
The competition organised jointly by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The University of Nottingham Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with sponsorship from the Royal Society of Chemistry is open to science researchers and aims to help them commercialise their ideas.
The North West heat was held over three days at Manchester United Football Club. Regional professionals, including representatives from The University of Manchester’s agent for intellectual property commercialisation (UMIP) and their network of advisors and professional associates offered mentoring sessions to the researchers during the competition. Teams also attended seminars giving advice and tips on how to develop their ideas into commercially-viable opportunities.
Each team was required to present an idea that is based on a hypothetical biotech idea. On the final day of the event they presented their concept to a judging panel of biotechnology, intellectual property and business experts.
Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Operations UMIP, commented: “This competition is a key part of the annual schedule of events at Manchester. It gives young scientists an opportunity to learn about business creation from a range of seasoned professionals, all of whom give their valuable time for free. This year’s competition was the strongest field we have seen with 28 teams registered. It was a great pleasure to Chair one of the panels of judges and see for myself how much the teams had progressed in such a short period. We now wish the winning teams the best of luck for the UK Finals where they have every chance of overall success.”