OBR is a dynamic and energetic organisation which was founded in 2011 in Oxford, UK and now has chapters across the UK and the US. OBR’s mission is to engage academic and industry communities on-campus to foster a conversation about the health care and life sciences industry. OBR seeks to create a global network of academic innovators across disciplines, to connect them with each other and the industry resources necessary to move ideas forward.
A recent OBR initiative was to partner with SR One, the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, in the OneStart Idea Competition to inspire, encourage and assist the next generation of European bio-entrepreneurs. With a £100,000 cash prize at stake, the competition attracted around 100 initial entries. 35 teams were selected to attend the semi-finalist’s biotech bootcamp in March, where teams were provided with the knowledge and support to develop their ideas into feasible business plans. Each team received mentorship from professionals across 24 different organisations including GlaxoSmithKline, Ernest & Young, Covington & Burling, McKinsey & Company and Imperial Innovations. Each business plan was assessed and in April, 10 finalists were announced.
On 16 May, the 10 finalists pitched their business plan to a panel of judges including Jens Eckstein, President at SR One; Daniel Perez, Founder and President at OBR; Maria Bobadilla, Senior Director in Academic Innovation Partnering at Roche; Ian Tomlinson, Head of Biopharmaceuticals R&D and Worldwide Business Development at GlaxoSmithKline; Kate Bingham, Managing Partner at SV Life Sciences and Andrew Sandham, Chairman and CEO at Kymab and were also given the opportunity to showcase their ideas to an audience of pharmaceutical industry professionals, venture capitalists and academics at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London.
Puridify Ltd., a London based spinout company from the Department of Biochemical Engineering, University College London was announced as the winner and LipoPep was announced as the runner-up (being awarded a surprise £10,000 second prize).
The OneStart Idea Competition was a great success and both OBR and SR One should be commended for that success.
OBR has achieved a great deal in just over two years; we look forward to seeing what it will come up with next.