A team of UEA PHA PhD students won the Biotechnology YES2017 competition at GSK, Stevenage in November 2017.  Biotechnology YES is an entrepreneurship competition whereby each team aims to set up a start-up biomedical company and pitch their idea and the business plan to a panel of investors. In the pitch, the teams have to address all areas of the business, e.g. Financial Strategy, IP strategy, Commercial and Marketing strategy.

As part of the competition, PhD students Lucka Bibic, Oliver Cartwright, Mahmoud Abdelhamid and Samuel Walpole from UEA PHA set up a provisional business called CryoThaw and presented their solution, protected as CryoThaw Heart.

CryoThaw Heart is a game-changing solution that allows hearts to be cryopreserved and reanimated back to a viable state. This allows for extended storage times and improved post-transplantation outcomes for patients. CryoThaw helps national health organisations improve heart transplantation procedures by putting science at the heart of the matter.  Prior to the competition, CryoThaw secured its registration funding from BBSRC Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Partnership and Eastern ARC which allowed them to participate on Biotechnology YES2017.  The CryoThaw team successfully pitched their ground-breaking idea to the judges where they swept the competitors and won the Biotechnology YES2017. CryoThaw is now looking ahead to the grand finals at the Royal Society on the 12th of December where they are going to compete with the winners from Engineering and Environmental workshops.

CryoThaw CEO Lucka Bibic reflects:  “I believe that CryoThaw success on Biotech YES is nothing but a team effort. I am extremely proud of all my guys as they did a fantastic job! Oliver, Mahmoud, Sam and me had all a part in these results. On top of that, we are really grateful to have such supportive supervisors – Prof Mark Searcey, Dr Zoe Waller, Dr Jesus Angulo and Dr Leanne Stokes. They are such a great role models for us all and without their support, the result might be different.”

“So far we got YES. However, we still need to fill in the current gaps in our business plan that have been suggested by the panel. But at least now we know better. So if we know better, we can do better and aim not only for YES, but for WOW. Finals are waiting for our CryoThaw team!”