The city of Cambridge has come out top in the final shortlist for a prestigious scientific innovation competition, sending five teams from companies and research institutes across the city to the final of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2014 in London this month.
Making up a total of a quarter of the competition finalists, teams from local companies AERI Ltd, Cambond Ltd and Rapid Biosensor Systems Ltd, and from the University of Cambridge and MRC Human Nutrition Research, will attend the final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June – where they will pitch their research ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to commercial experts from renowned scientific multinational companies.
They will battle against 15 other teams from across the UK to win the top prize of one-to-one mentoring from the competition’s multinational partners and £10,000 prize money – to be presented to the winners by the BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ judge, Richard Farleigh.
Dr Aurora Antemir, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s industry programme manager said: “The process of translating a scientific innovation into a product or service that creates value, or that customers will pay for, is difficult.”
“The Royal Society of Chemistry recognises the potential of innovators in the chemical sciences to contribute to economic growth in the UK. But we also recognise that it’s really hard for innovators to make that jump from the lab bench to market because they don’t have the commercial know-how.
“That’s why we set up the Emerging Technologies Competition – to connect the brightest ideas in the chemical sciences with commercial expertise in large multinational companies and to the right business networks to make technologies that have big potential more investment-ready.”
Dr Julian Huppert MP said: “I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Cambridge University, MRC Human Nutrition Research and Cambond Ltd have been selected as finalists in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s competition. The technologies they will be judged on are all excellent examples of the potential that scientific research has to impact our economy, both locally and nationally. Together with the other Cambridgeshire companies on the shortlist, this news cements the city’s reputation as a centre for global scientific excellence even further and I wish them the very best of luck in the final.” Andrew Lansley MP said: “It is great news for South Cambridgeshire that AERI Ltd and Rapid Biosensor Systems Ltd have both been selected as the finalists in the Emerging Technologies Competition. I am delighted to see local scientific innovation and talent once again being recognised at a national level and look forward to seeing them do well at the competition final.”
As well as mentoring and cash prizes, the Emerging Technologies Competition winners will benefit from a package of free advertising and access to investor networks.
AERI Ltd is a start-up manufacturing company based in Haslingfield that has developed polymer materials for manufacturing wires that are superconductors at ambient temperature. Superconductors normally conduct electricity at cryogenic temperatures, but cryogenics are bulky and very costly to run. AERI Ltd manufactures the world’s first wires that are superconductors at room temperature.
AERI Ltd CEO, Dr Andrei Mourachkine, will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June.
On being selected as an Emerging Technologies finalist, Dr Mourachkine said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted in the Emerging Technologies Competition final. We hope to win. The availability of wires superconducting at ambient temperature will lead to a new industrial revolution. It will also make a huge impact on reduction of the CO2 emission.”
Cambond Ltd is a new University of Cambridge start-up working on ‘green’ adhesives for industry. The company makes low carbon adhesives from biomass feedstocks and provides a way to manufacture ‘green’ sustainable adhesives in a cost effective manner.
Inventor, Dr Xiaobin Zhao, and Business Director, Dr Gareth Roberts, will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June.
On being selected as an Emerging Technologies finalist Dr Roberts said: “We are pleased the competition judges have seen the huge potential in this new approach to making adhesives and excited at the prospect of accelerating the commercial development of Cambond.”
Rapid Biosensor Systems Ltd is a developer of medical devices based in Babraham that has developed a rapid, disposable test that can detect tuberculosis (TB) within two minutes from collecting a cough sample. Their prototype device has been successfully tested in India and Ethiopia and could be adapted to deliver products for screening other diseases including bovine TB, E.Coli and, potentially, pneumonia.
Technical Director, Dr Elaine McCash, and Medical Consultant, Dr Nicol Murray, will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June.
On being selected as an Emerging Technologies finalist Dr McCash said: “We are delighted to have our prototype technology recognised in the competition final. We believe in market-driven technology development right from the outset of having a good scientific concept. Our first prototypes are focused on the TB diagnostics market. We can build company value and grow market share by developing new product solutions for other infectious diseases based on our IP.”
A team of researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford has developed an innovative technology for joining antibodies to molecules that are toxic to cells to form stable products that could potentially be used to develop targeted anti-cancer drugs.
Dr Gonçalo Bernardes from the University of Cambridge and his collaborator, Professor Ben Davis from the University of Oxford, will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June.
On being selected as an Emerging Technologies finalist, Dr Bernardes said: “We have demonstrated the breadth of our new method on many different proteins, including antibodies. We are now poised to exploit our strategy to build the next generation of antibody-drug products that will hopefully lead to safer and more efficient targeted cancer therapeutics.”
Researchers from MRC Human Nutrition Research on Fulbourn Road have developed an innovative nano iron supplement called IHAT to treat iron deficiency anaemia.
Investigator Scientist, Dora Pereira, and Group Leader, Jonathan Powell, will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June.
On being selected as an Emerging Technologies finalist, Pereira said: “I am delighted to have been selected as a finalist. I’m particularly looking forward to the networking opportunities that the competition offers that will hopefully enable us to advance the translation of IHAT into commercial product with clinical benefit.”
More information: Victoria Steven, Royal Society of Chemistry, 0207 440 3322; 07774328390
• The Royal Society of Chemistry organises the Emerging Technologies Competition to identify and showcase the latest technologies in the chemical sciences with significant potential impact for the UK economy. Winning companies and researchers receive ongoing, one-to-one mentoring from renowned multinational companies, a cash prize up to £10,000 and a further package of benefits to help them transfer their promising technologies into commercial reality.
• The 2014 Emerging Technologies Competition Final takes place on 25 June at the Royal Society of Chemistry in Burlington House, London, and is open to anyone with an interest in innovation and commercialisation. As well as pitching sessions, the event offers the opportunity to network with potential investors and collaborators and seminars on the benefits and pitfalls of commercialisation – including finance, marketing and patenting.
• Companies or researchers planning to enter the Emerging Technologies Competition in 2015 are encouraged to attend this year’s Competition Final to experience the process first hand and meet some of the winners.
• The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences.
With over 49,000 members and a knowledge business that spans the globe, we are the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 170 years of history and an international vision of the future. We promote, support and celebrate chemistry. We work to shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity. www.rsc.org