04th February 2020

The Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute hosted the CRUK Activate Challenge Final, together with our partners Converge who run various business challenges open to young entrepreneurs in Scotland. The Activate Challenge is part of an initiative to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship among CRUK's researchers.

The four finalists delivered a 1-minute pitch around their business idea focused on oncology to CRUK's Chief Business Officer for its Commercial Partnerships team, two external judges with biotech experience and the Director of Converge.

The earlier stages of the competition involved the researchers attending a bespoke life science training course in all aspects of research translation and commercialisation, delivered by entrepreneurs in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry; putting together business cases around their ideas that ranged from diagnostic/prognostic applications to new cancer screening technologies and drug delivery systems; and pitch training.

The winner, Peter Repiscak, a Bioinformatician at the Beatson Institute, received a £7K prize and 12 months 'after care' from Converge to help develop his gene-based prognostic test to stratify prostate cancer patients in order to identify those likely to respond to docetaxel-based chemotherapy. Badri Aekbote from the University of Glasgow won the runner-up prize of £3K. Samuel Atkinson and Mark Nakasone, both from the Beatson Institute, were highly commended by all the judges for delivering slick pitches around their ovarian cancer fingerprinting and biotherapeutic drug delivery technologies, respectively.

Activate challenge