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Probiotic deodorant idea forges new UK-India links at biotech competition

4 December 2007

In a unique link up that aims to boost biotech entrepreneurship in India and help UK scientists to build links with Indian colleagues, a team of Indian researchers yesterday pitched their proposal for a hypothetical biotech company at the final of the UK’s longstanding Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) competition. The Indian team, from The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, presented their idea for the world’s first probiotic deodorant.

The team are the winners of the first ever India YES, run in parallel with the UK competition and sponsored by UK Trade and Investment and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The team came through rounds in India and semi-finals in Oxford and Edinburgh to secure their opportunity to be showcased at the UK National Final.

Biotechnology YES is an annual competition, now in its 12th year, that aims to help the UK’s young bioscientists gain the skills and contacts needed to turn lab research into commercial reality. It is run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI). This year 64 UK teams have competed for the opportunity to present at the final in London – the winners walked away with the sought after Biotechnology YES 2007 title, £1,000 in cash, a sponsored table at this Biotechnology Industry Association dinner and the chance to present their idea at a prestigious US business plan competition.

Dr Doug Yarrow, BBSRC Director of Corporate Science, said: "We are really pleased that India YES attracted high calibre teams from the Indian biotechnology research community and that the best are joining us for the showpiece final of the UK Biotechnology YES competition. India YES has been an excellent opportunity to boost the profile of UK bioscience and biotechnology in India and for participants from both countries to network.

"The Indian participants in the UK workshops have been superb ambassadors for their country’s research community."

Rob Daniel, First Secretary, Head-Science and Innovation, India at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said: "India YES has been a huge success. We have had the best budding biotech entrepreneurs from India showcasing their ideas alongside their UK colleagues, Indian researchers have received excellent training in entrepreneurial skills in the preliminary heats and delegates from both countries have had the opportunity to network. The Indian biotechnology sector is well developed and growing fast. Improving links and sharing skills between both countries will benefit us all in the future."


Notes to editors

Biotechnology YES has been running since 1995. Research has found that young scientists participating in the competition are more likely to enter business roles than other young scientists.

The competition is sponsored by 20 different organisations – BBSRC; BIA; The University of Manchester Incubator Company (UMIC); The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd (UMIP); Manchester Science Park (msp); Manchester Investment Agency (MIDAS); AstraZeneca; The North West Development Agency (NWDA); BioNow; Cancer Research UK; Eric Potter Clarkson; Gatsby Charitable Foundation; GlaxoSmithKline; the Medical Research Council (MRC); the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC); Nestle; Pfizer; Smith & Nephew; Syngenta; UK Trade and Investment; The Foreign Commonwealth Office; University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) and Yorkshire Forward.

For the first time Biotechnology YES hosted the winners of India YES - a parallel competition sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK Trade and Investment – which saw teams from India participated in the Edinburgh and Oxford regional heats in a separate contest. The associated "feeder" competition in India attracted 69 teams, 14 of which were shortlisted before deciding on the four to be represented in the UK competition. The winning India team, ProBioVision, pitched their plan for the world’s first probiotic deodorant.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


The University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI) is a world class centre committed to the development of entrepreneurial skills and the commercial innovation of new technologies and ideas. Our purpose is to engage staff and students in the acquisition of enterprise skills so that they are better able to realize the opportunities generated in a rapidly developing entrepreneurial culture. UNIEI aims to be at the forefront of international thinking and best practice in engaging universities and businesses in the process of wealth creation.


Members of ProBioVision, the winning India YES team with representatives from BBSRC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: (From Left to Right) Patrick Bragoli (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Doug Yarrow, Steve Visscher and Simon Cutler (BBSRC) (878 KB)

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