A biotech start-up formed by students from the University of Cambridge's Master's in Bioscience Enterprise postgraduate business course has come second in Oxford University's "Idea Idol" competition. The Cambridge-based start-up Foresight Pharmaceuticals is commercialising a hormone-containing gel that will prevent the carriers of sexually-transmitted diseases from passing them on to their partners. The team is made up of Arjun Goyal and Amal Ismail of Clare Hall and Grant Jackson of Downing College, University of Cambridge and Phoebe Williams of Oxford University.
The team initially entered the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs £1k Challenge and of the numerous teams that entered seven were chosen, including Foresight Pharmaceuticals, with each winning a prize of £1,000. After their initial success in the team entered the Idea Idol Competition run by Oxford University's student society for entrepreneurs. The society has over 3,000 student members and this year's competition received hundred of entries. The entrants were whittled down to 25 who then had to submit a summary of their business idea. The summaries were reviewed by representatives from NESTA's Future Innovators team, Credit Suisse and Uuni.
Foresight Pharmaceuticals was lucky enough to be one of the final six teams, who then had the task of presenting a two minute pitch to a panel of esteemed judges. The panel included star of Dragon's Den Deborah Meaden and Reshma Sohoni, CEO of Seedcamp, a company set up to provide seed funding and world-class connections for start-ups. The Cambridge Team finished an impressive second, securing a prize of £2000.
Whilst previous MBE classes have frequently been successful in business plan competitions, this year's class look set to surpass all expectations. Not only has Foresight's business model met with approval in Oxford but in addition the company is one of six MBE entries to reach the finals of the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs competition, the winners of which will be announced in June. The finalists for the 5k stage of the competition were announced last week with students from the MBE class taking half of the final 12 places, an amazing achievement for a group of only 25 students.