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Two Bristol teams win prizes at BrisSynBio 4-Day MBA

The 4-Day MBA course was run by representatives from SynbiCITE and BrisSynBio at Bristol science innovation centre, Unit DX.

Press release issued: 23 April 2018

Vitamica, Imophoron and Exom Biotechnologies were all awarded a share of £10,000 in prizes during the BrisSynBio Connect event, which was the finale of the 4-Day MBA to develop new synthetic biology business ideas.

The 4-Day MBA course was run by representatives from SynbiCITE and BrisSynBio at Bristol science innovation centre, Unit DX. The finale of the course involved presentations from the nine participating teams to a panel of expert judges. Three of the prizes were awarded to teams from Bristol with a further prize going to University College London researchers.

The all-female Vitamica won first prize of £2000 to be used at Unit DX and £2000 prize money to put towards business costs. The company aims to reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance with ground-breaking technology which will allow doctors to tailor antibiotics to patients.

Charlotte Bermingham, CTO at Vitamica, said: “The prizes are the first funding for our new company! The prize we won from Unit DX will help us in setting up a base for our business operations in the incubator, with a view to moving our labs there in the near future. The business development prize will enable us to establish the branding of the company, conduct market research, work on our business plan and seek investment.”

Two prizes were awarded to the Imophoron team lead by Fred Garzoni, who have engineered a vaccine scaffold that is thermostable, cheap, and scalable; improving access to vaccines in third world countries. They were awarded second prize, £2000 towards business costs and an additional prize to develop their branding and marketing with Shelley Goodwin, from CDM London.

A final, best pre-incorporation prize, was awarded to Exom Biotechnologies. Team leader Ben Barnes from University College London, uses exosomes to help revive failed drug candidates.

The 4-Day MBA has been designed to enable participants to develop their biotechnology business ideas and translate them into a commercial context. The course provides the foundation knowledge required to commercialise research through the instructing of business, legal and financial concepts.

Speaking about the course, BrisSynBio Director Prof. Imre Berger said: “The broad national and international participation in this programme shows Bristol’s rapid development as a centre of excellence for life science and biotech translation. We were delighted to see the strong showing from Bristol-based teams and look forward to seeing them grow.”

Further information


BrisSynBio is a multi-disciplinary research centre that focuses on the biomolecular design and engineering aspects of synthetic biology. It has been established as one of six Synthetic Biology Research Centres in the UK.  BrisSynBio is funded predominantly by the BBSRC and EPSRC, and has broad range of academic, industrial and public-facing partners. ‌

BrisSynBio is part of the Bristol BioDesign Institute, one of the University of Bristol's seven Specialist Research Institutes.


SynbiCITE is the Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) for synthetic biology. They accelerate and promote commercialisation in synthetic biology research and biological engineering applications.

SynbiCITE received £28 million in 2013 from the EPSRC, BBSRC, Innovate UK and its industrial and academic partners; with the aim of closing the gap between scientific research and commercial exploitation.


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