The most innovative business ideas from the first phase of the international “Best of Biotech – get your business started!” business plan competition for life sciences were announced on 6 March 2008. The jury was impressed by the high quality of the entries, and awarded prizes to six projects instead of the planned five.
The business plan competition BOB – Best of Biotech is taking place for the fourth time. BOB is aimed at students and scientists from universities and non-university research institutions and at everybody with an innovative business idea based on research findings.
In the first phase (2 December 2007 – 1 February 2008) of the two-stage competition, participants from all over Austria and its neighbouring countries, with a special focus on Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary, were invited to submit their idea in the form of a short business concept. A total of 42 teams and individuals responded, and submitted innovations which they considered had business potential The 22-person international expert jury chose six winners from the life science projects submitted, instead of the planned five. These winning projects received prize money of EUR 1,400 each at today’s awards ceremony.
Top with BOB – from a portable laboratory to a "nasal vibrator" for stuffy noses
The scope of the winning projects spanned the whole of the life sciences range, from new diagnostic procedures and drugs to new therapeutic options. Biorealis from Bratislava is developing a portable laboratory for analysing wine, food and blood. Graz-based researcher Karl Lohner works on new kinds of antibiotics, which inhibit the formation of resistance and the development of septic shock. microQCM, an innovative sensor design, will facilitate label-free analysis of molecular interactions. In Austria, the nephronic team are working on a new diagnostic approach which should make early and improved detection of renal disease with the aid of biomarkers possible. OPSOVAC from Innsbruck is focusing on new kinds of vaccines which could be used against HIV and Hepatitis C. Ventino, a Hungarian start-up from Debrecen, is developing a "nasal vibrator” which unblocks stuffy noses.
“What BOB once again confirms is the enormous potential of the life sciences in Austria and its neighbouring regions. Innovative start-ups are indispensible if a location is to be attractive – research alone is not enough. Entrepreneurs capable of identifying the market opportunities and with the courage to make a business out of them are also needed,” emphasised Sonja Hammerschmid, Head of Technology and Innovation at aws. With 10 of the 42 projects coming from Vienna, Eva Czernohorszky, Managing Director of Life Science Austria Vienna Region, was also particularly satisfied: “We are delighted with the quality and quantity of submissions. Now the business ideas must be channelled in the right direction. The participants will acquire the necessary skills and expertise for this in tailor-made workshops and boot camps.”
BOB enters its second phase – submissions still being accepted
Following the successful conclusion of first phase of the competition, the second phase (6 March – 30 May) begins. Based on the business idea, fully fledged business plans must now be developed, which may ultimately form the basis for the establishment of a company. Whether winners or not, everyone who took part in the first phase can continue to participate! New submissions can also be accepted in Phase II. The participants will be actively supported by experienced coaches. They can acquire the knowledge they need at two-day workshops on business plan development to be held in Innsbruck, Vienna and Graz. At Boot Camp 1 in April, participants will also have the opportunity to work directly with experts on their business plans. Following this, the best 10 will then be comprehensively prepared in Boot Camp 2 for a final jury presentation.
On 27 June the participants will present their business plans to an international jury of industry specialists, scientists and venture capitalists. Prizes of EUR 15,000 and EUR 10,000, donated by Baxter BioScience and Boehringer Ingelheim, will be awarded to the two best projects.
Best of Biotech is an initiative of Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH and Life Science Austria Vienna Region and of various public and private partners at home and abroad.
Best of Biotech Phase II timetable
6 March – 30 May 2008: Phase 2 – business plan submission March 2008: Two-day workshops to develop the business plan in Innsbruck (11–12 March), Vienna (28–29 March) and Graz (31 March – 1 April)
21–22 April 2008: Boot Camp 1 26 June 2008: Boot Camp 2 27 June 2008: Presentation of the business plans to the jury 3 July 2008: Closing gala with awards ceremony
Information, registration and submission:
Best of Biotech: 2007/08 Winning Projects - Phase 1
Miroslav Stredansky, Jan Tkac, Silvia Stredanska, Pavol Szomolanyi, Bratislava, SK
This business idea involves the development of a portable laboratory to be used for the quantitative analysis of ingredients in wine, food and blood. Newly established Biorealis is combining biotechnology and nanobiotechnology approaches in this application.
>> Intelligent peptide design to combat antibiotic resistance and septic shock
Karl Lohner, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz
The aim of this business idea is to develop new kinds of antibiotics. The mechanism of action of these antibiotics facilitates a quick effect and inhibits the formation of resistance, while protecting at the same time against the development of septic shock.
Markus Gruber, Aachen, D
This business idea involves the development and marketing of a sensor design for label-free analysis of biomolecular interactions in the life sciences. The idea is of particular use in biochemical research and development, pharmaceutical product development and quality control, e.g., in the food industry.
>> nephronic biomedical research
Gert Mayer, Medical University of Innsbruck,
Rainer Oberbauer, Krankenhaus der Elisabethinen Linz (hospital),
Bernd Mayer, Arno Lukas, emergentec biodevelopment GmbH Vienna
The team from Innsbruck, Linz and Vienna are developing innovative products in the area of renal disease diagnosis. Tests based on biomarkers are being developed, which can provide information on the risk of acute renal failure, show the progress of chronic renal disease and determine the biological age of transplant organs.
Heribert Stoiber, Medical University of Innsbruck
OPSOVAC is developing new kinds of vaccines against infectious diseases. These take effect through a combination of special antibodies and support from the immune system. In an initial development step, vaccines against HIV and Hepatitis C and therapeutic agents to treat these diseases would be produced. Later on, the technology would also be used against cancer.
Csaba Pankucsi, Ventino Kft., Debrecen, H
The team from Debrecen has developed a “nasal vibrator” which unblocks a stuffy nose when a person is suffering from a cold or allergies. The mechanism is based on increasing the levels of nasal nitric oxide, which cleans the nose. An external application of the lipstick-sized vibrator for just 20 seconds can unblock a nose for up to 2 hours.
Nina Sallacz Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft mbH
Ungargasse 37, A-1030 Vienna, Austria tel.: +43 (1) 501 75 350 e-mail: n.sallacz(at)awsg.at