Scientists reach finals of national tech competition

Dr Sarah Jones and Professor John Howl, from the School of Pharmacy, have been selected as finalists in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Emerging Technologies Competition 2014.

They will attend the competition final at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s London headquarters on Piccadilly on 25 June 2014 – where they will pitch their research ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to commercial experts from renowned scientific multinational companies.

They will battle against 19 other teams 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’ former judge, Richard Farleigh.

Dr Jones and Professor Howl’s biotech company, Pantechnia, has developed a technology calledBioportide, a peptide-based technology that can “drug the undruggable” by delivering drugs to previously elusive therapeutic sites in human cells.

The technology shows promise for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease and provides a novel therapeutic approach for the maintenance of reproductive health. The technology has already attracted much interest from industry as well as charitable funding bodies such as the Michael J Fox Foundation.

Dr Jones said: “We are delighted to have reached the finals of this prestigious competition, and are looking forward to pitching our research to the panel of experts. Our research has the potential to make a major impact on the treatment of diseases such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease so we hope we can clinch the top award.”

Dr Aurora Antemir, industry programme manager of the Royal Society of Chemistry, added:  “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.”

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.

 

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on
01902 322736.

Date Issued: Thursday, 19 June 2014

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