A team of four budding biomedical engineers from Johns Hopkins University won the North American arm of the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES), an academic business plan competition designed to teach young postgraduate scientists the issues involved in the commercialization of science. The Hopkins team will be presented with an all-expense paid trip to London to represent the U.S. and Canada at the final nine-team competition, as well as a $1,000 check from the British Council USA (BCUSA), which sponsored and administered the North American initiative.
The Hopkins team, made up of graduate biomedical engineering students David Noren, Blanka Sharma, Raymond Cheong and Saurabh Paliwal, recently traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, where they presented their ideas for a fictional commercial biotechnology product to a group of judges representing the UK business and legal professions. Under the fictional name of Innovative Clinical Unlimited, the team outlined the use of an automated device to image the retina which would allow primary care physicians to diagnose potentially blinding diseases before patients lose their sight.
"Our team found the workshop and competition offered a fun platform to learn basic business planning and were very effective in conveying the challenges faced by modern entrepreneurs," said team captain Noren. "We worked hard at honing our strategy and in the end we are all very excited to have won."
Following workshops presented by leading figures in the UK biotechnology industry, proposals were judged on criteria including research and development strategy, commercial potential and financial planning. The Hopkins team was one of four taking part in the North American finals in Oxford, England and Edinburgh, Scotland; the other three groups represented the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Toronto and Georgia Institute of Technology.
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Contact: Makeda Scott
British Information Services
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