At the seventh international business plan competition “Best of Bio-tech”, which took place yesterday, the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) awarded the four best business plans in the field of life sciences. The winning projects are: CYPRUMED®, TAmiRNA, Syconium and CSDLabs. Scientists and students from six countries answered the international call to present their business ideas in the form of a business plan. In total, 30 projects with economic potential - 25 of them from Austria - were voted on by an expert jury. The BMWFW start-up initiative commissioned by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) aims to stimulate the commercial use of research findings in order to strengthen Austria’s economic position with pioneering ideas.
“Marketable innovations in the field of life science research not only support growth and em-ployment, but also benefit the whole of society by assisting potential medical advancements”, said Reinhold Mitterlehner, Minister of Science, Research and Economy, who warmly con-gratulated the winners of the seventh competition, “Best of Biotech supports the path from a good idea to a competitive enterprise. The competition gives young businesses the chance to develop their business plans with experts at their side. Furthermore, the international con-test facilitates contact with potential investors and partners.”
Successful business ideas
The four best business ideas received the prizes at the ceremonial gala at Palais Ferstel on 6 May. The prize money from sponsors totalled €46,000. The following contestants convinced the international expert jury with their business plans:
1st place: CYPRUMED® (prize money €15,000; sponsor: Roche Austria GmbH)
CYPRUMED® is a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing a next gen-eration platform technology for the oral administration of peptide drugs. Therapeutic pep-tides, representing one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical areas, cannot be administered orally, in the form of a tablet or capsule, but must be injected. The vast majority of patients, however, would prefer an oral dosage form.
2nd place: TAmiRNA (prize money €10,000; sponsor: BINDER GRÖSSWANG Rechtsanwälte GmbH)
The name „TAmiRNA“ stands for „Triple-A“ microRNA, and relates to the company‘s vision of applying small RNA-molecules for the diagnosis and therapy of complex diseases. MicroRNAs are a promising novel class of small RNA molecules that impact on health and aging of people. The R&D activities of TAmiRNA are focused on complex age-associated diseases affecting the musculoskeletal or cardiovascular system.
3rd place: Syconium (prize money €5,000; sponsor: AFFiRiS AG)
Syconium Lactic Acid GmbH has the goal to develop a production process for pure isomers of lactic acid acid operating at significantly lower costs compared to currently established production processes. Therefore the company combines the newest knowhow in metabolic engineering and genetics of yeast strains with innovative approaches in bioprocess engineer-ing to a proprietary technological approach.
Special Medtech award: CSDLabs (prize money €10,000; sponsor: LISAvienna)
The auscultation of the heart with a stethoscope is the standard examination method world-wide in the screening of heart defects, with the aim of identifying pathological heart sounds. A diagnosis can be challenging for various reasons including noise, high heart rates, or inno-cent vs. pathological murmurs, and objective screening tools are lacking, introducing an in-creased risk of human error and creating issues concerning consistency, accuracy and ob-jectivity. CSDLabs' eMurmur medical software is a clinically tested screening tool for objec-tive detection of heart defects which can be utilized by medical professionals performing auscultation in their daily routine.
Economic stimuli for Austria
“The life sciences are booming, and our “Best of Biotech” competition is revealing enormous potential in this area. The successful reception this year confirms the trend: we have never had so many submissions as in the current round. As a promotional bank, it is our goal to accompany start-ups on their path to success and thereby further strengthen the position of life sciences in Austria,” explain the managing directors of aws, Bernhard Sagmeister and Edeltraud Stiftinger.
As a part of the competition, participating contestants received detailed feedback on their business plans. Experts from the fields of industry, finance and economy judged the submit-ted business plans and worked with the participants to develop a viable business concept - the cornerstone of every new company. The participants received tailor-made support and
individual coaching in numerous one-on-one meetings. A network of national and interna-tional experts helped the prospective entrepreneurs to develop realistic market scenarios for their business concepts and facilitated contacts with industry stakeholders.
All further information about the competition can be found at www.bestofbiotech.at
About aws Best of Biotech
aws Best of Biotech is an international business-plan competition that focuses on life scienc-es, is organised by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) and commissioned by the Feder-al Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. The competition is run together with AplusB centres (start-up centres at Austrian universities) and international partners. Best of Biotech is financially supported by Roche Austria GmbH, BINDER GRÖSSWANG Rechtsanwälte GmbH, AFFiRiS AG, the Vienna life science platform LISAvienna, Standortagentur Tirol, Baxter Healthcare GmbH and the ERBER Group. Seventy-seven business start-ups have already emerged from the previous rounds of the competition. In total, around €256,000 in prize money has been distributed.
About Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws)
Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws) is Austria's government promotional bank. As a spe-cialist bank under public ownership it is geared towards corporate finance with a focus on "start-ups" and "growth and industry". By providing low-interest loans, guarantees, subsidies and equity capital, it supports companies with the implementation of their innovative projects, especially when the necessary funds cannot be adequately raised through other means. Specific information, advice and services are also offered to prospective, existing and ex-panding companies. On behalf of BMWFW, aws also offers technology-orientated small and medium-sized businesses a wide range of services related to the patenting and licensing of technological developments. Support and guidance play particularly important roles in this. Specific research, collaborative development of mechanisms for protecting property rights, licensing and the use of technology round off the broad range of activities.
Fotos: © Peter Rauchecker