£23,000 awarded for innovative new business ideas to improve health

Published: 10 June 2015

A triage test to reduce the number of women with HPV, a prostate cancer detection device, a test to identify a group of breast cancer patients with a higher risk of disease recurrence and an idea of generating electricity from brain pulsation have taken top honours in this year’s Edinburgh BioQuarter’s Innovation Competition.

This annual innovation competition is only open to staff at NHS Lothian and staff and postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh and encourages entrants to share their business, product or service ideas for the improvement of human or animal health - with prizes totalling £23,000 up for grabs to progress winning entries.

In the best new business idea category, two University of Edinburgh researchers have been awarded joint first place, each winning £7,500 to help develop their business concept:

• Dr Ramya Bhatia, Research Programme Manager for the HPV Research Group at the University of Edinburgh has developed a novel triage test to reduce the number of women with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection who are referred for an unnecessary colposcopy.

• Daniel Good with the University’s Edinburgh Urological Cancer Group, has developed a innovative device which diagnoses prostate cancer using the stiffness of the prostate – aiming to improve the speed and accurancy of prostate cancer detection.

In the best new product or service category, a winner and runner-up have been selected:

• Winner Dr Arran Turnbull, with the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Team at the University of Edinburgh has received £5,000 to develop a test to identify a group of breast cancer patients with a higher risk of disease recurrence or poor prognosis, with the aim of improving their treatment and reducing the risk of recurrence.

• Runner-up Dr Mark Hughes, of the University’s Department of Neurosurgery, has developed a novel idea to generate electricity from brain pulsation to power deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS is a neurosurgical treatment where electrical impulses are delivered to the brain, currently via an implaned pulse generator, to treat a range of conditions – predominately Parkinsons Disease.

Now in its fifth year, the Innovation Competition has delivered some £120,000 of prize money to more than thirty winners, and seen three of the winning entrants go on to form companies based on the concept presented in this competition.

Dr Mike Capaldi, Commercialisation Director of the Edinburgh BioQuarter, said: “This is the fifth year that Edinburgh BioQuarter has run the competition and we continue to be impressed by the number of ideas and the level of innovation shown by all entrants. This year’s calibre of entries has been very high indeed.

“We have already seen novel products and companies reaching the market from previous years’ winners and I don’t expect this year to be any different. Once again, I believe this just goes to demonstrate the strength and depth of biomedical innovation within the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian and the commitment that our clinicians and academics have to make a difference in improving people’s lives.”

The top two entries in each category were selected by a panel of experts from BioQuarter and sponsors and received their prizes at an awards ceremony last night (9 June).

Winning entries not only receive prize money and support from the BioQuarter Commercialisation Team, but also expert advice from our sponsors on intellectual property (Marks & Clerk), company growth (MBM Commercial) and taxation and finance (Springfords).

The 2015 Innovation Competition is sponsored by Marks & Clerk, a leading firm of patent and trade mark attorneys; MBM Commercial, an niche law firm focused on advising entrepreneurial start-ups and their investors; and Springfords, accountants and business growth specialists. It is supported by the Europe Scotland Regional Development Fund.


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