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Wales’ first BBSRC Biotechnology YES finalists

22 November 2012

A team of Postgraduate students from the School of Biosciences have become the first team from a Welsh University to win their heat and make the final of the BBSRC's annual Biotechnology YES (Young Entrepreneur Scheme) competition.

Biotechnology YES is an annual business competition for Postgraduate students and is funded by the BBSRC with a number of other research council and industrial sponsors. The aim of the scheme is to raise awareness and impart skills associated with the commercialisation process.

At their heat in October the team were given a crash course in technology translation and business planning. The 3 day event culminated in a dragons den style pitch where they were successful in persuading a panel of experts to invest in their hypothetical business "Ingenium Biotech". The central discovery being developed by the company focused on the application of Endolysin enzymes as a species specific antibacterial food additive for poultry. The market opportunity the company is addressing has come about as a result of the 2006 EU ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in poultry, which has led to a significant increase in bacterial infections in flocks across the EU.

Regarding the competition itself the team commented:

"We really didn't know what to expect, but it was a great experience and we have gained a broad range of transferable skills and business knowledge"

"It was a really challenging three days with little sleep and lots of work, but it was extremely satisfying when it all came together, especially when we won"

"It was great to be in a different environment for a few days, learning about the biotechnology industry and meeting postgraduates from other Universities. I would recommend participating in Biotechnology YES! to all bioscience postgraduate students"

"I now feel that I could enter the Dragons Den with confidence!"

The final will be held in London on 10th December 2012 where the team will be up against 11 other teams from across the UK. If the team are successful they will win £1000 and a trip to a business conference in Texas, USA. We wish them luck in their endeavour.

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