CSIR Biosciences team shortlisted for GAP Biosciences award

A group of student researchers from the CSIR Biosciences’ technology platform, Emerging Health Technologies, has been shortlisted to the semi-finals of the Gauteng Accelerator Programme – Biosciences (GAP-Biosciences) 2012.

The winners of the programme will be announced in December 2012. They will receive a R400 000 cash prize; free incubation for a year at The Innovation Hub; continued mentorship; and business support for a year.

The GAP-Biosciences programme is the first programme to focus on building entrepreneurial skills in the biosciences innovation sector in Gauteng. It was introduced by The Innovation Hub in collaboration with Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States with the aim to provide a significant and unmatched bio-entrepreneurship learning experience for scientists and entrepreneurs interested in pursuing commercially viable opportunities in the Biosciences and related fields.

The research project that these students are working on is Aptamer-based Point-of-care TB Diagnostics and was presented by Dr Makobetsa Khati, Fanie Marais, Lia Rotherham, Nqobile Ngubane, Matsiopane Maserumule and Laura Millroy.
Dr Khati – Technology Manager: Emerging Health Technologies – said: “We are very excited about this nomination as the team stands to benefit a lot from the Executive Education week presented by Emory University Business School, where the team will be matched with their mentors to develop the business plan for the competition. A win for this team will help take the aptamer-based point-of-care TB diagnostic technology to the market.”
Dr Khati added, “The students have contributed tremendous amount of work to the project, which we started in 2007. To put it simply, the students are the lifeblood of this project.”

The programme aims to ensure that biosciences researchers and postgraduates have the vital business skills to accelerate the establishment of viable start-up companies in Gauteng. It also seeks to nurture business ideas and develop business proficiencies for individuals in selected teams from South Africa with emphasis in Gauteng. These teams are made up of graduates, academics, bio-entrepreneurs, and researchers in the Biosciences and related fields. Individuals in these teams are expected to have technical expertise to perform the required technical development, but lack the necessary business, legal, and intellectual property skills to take their technologies to the market.

The seven semi-finalists will attend the Executive Education Week presented by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in July 2012, where they will be matched with their mentors and commence the development of their business plans for the competition.

 Story – by Sibusiso Ralarala (CSIR Biosciences News, July 2012)