Justin Cooper-White and Mark Kendall.
Justin Cooper-White and Mark Kendall.

Researchers at The University of Queensland have had success in swapping their white lab coats for boardroom suits, with awards in a prestigious national business plan competition.

Teams from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology took out the best pitch prize and audience award during the final of UQ Business School’s Enterprize competition at the State Library of Queensland.
Professor Mark Kendall’s team took out the Women in Technology Award on October 20, after securing 74 per cent of the audience vote while pitching their business concept to an audience, including investors.
The win recognised their work in putting together a business plan to commercialise the needle-free vaccine delivery device Nanopatch.
Nanopatch has been shown in trials to provide a protective immunisation in mice, with less than a hundredth of the dosage used compared to a needle and syringe.
Professor Justin Cooper-White’s team won the i.lab award for best pitch, earning a nod from judges who are themselves investors.
The win recognised their work in putting together a business plan to commercialise Dyniform Meniscal Replacement Therapy (Dyniform-MRT).
The team is developing breakthrough technology to repair a torn or injured meniscus in the knee joint.
Dyniform-MRT is yet to undergo preclinical or human clinical trials and the earliest the product would reach the market is 2018.
The two AIBN awards follow months of work in establishing business plans, doing market analysis, preparing competitive advantage and a financial forecasts and enduring in-depth interviews with the panel of five judges.
Prof Kendall said:  “Certainly this award provides a form of external validation, not only for the Nanopatch technology as a commercial prospect, but also our commercialisation strategy.”
 
“Our ambition is for Nanopatch to be taken from the current stage of animal model success through the clinic – and on to the market as a next-generation vaccine delivery device, potentially displacing the needle and syringe.
 
“This progression requires commercialisation and partnership with the right players.”
 
Prof Cooper-White said the best pitch award showed his team was on the right track with both its knee-joint technology and the way it was received in the business and investment fields.
“It gives us a better sense of how good our product is and how competitive we are. It gives us visibility and helps us build momentum with our partnering strategy to take the technology out of the lab and into the wider world.”
Media: Professor Mark Kendall (07 3346 4203, 0431 162 391) or Professor Justin Cooper-White (3346 3858)

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