UCL Innovation and Enterprise


UCL biochemical engineering team triumph at Oxford Biotech Roundtable business plan competition

23 May 2013


Two members of the UCL Biochemical Engineering department at UCL have won a business plan competition at the Oxford Biotech Roundtable, securing £100,000 of investment in their business, Puridify.

Dr Oliver Hardick, in the department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL, along with EngD candidate Iwan Roberts and their colleague Tom Haywood, entered the OneStart competition with their radical new technology offering a ten-fold increase in purification productivity over existing approaches, with a lower lifetime cost – leading, it is hoped, to broader patient access to drugs through reducing prices.

The company is a UCL spin-out based on technology developed during a collaborative research project between Oliver, Prof. Bob Stevens and Dr Daniel G. Bracewell. Their intellectual property – filed by UCL’s technology transfer company UCLB – is behind the spinout.

The OneStart competition is the largest of its kind in the world, and aims to support ideas for technologies in life sciences which are sufficiently innovative that they have the potential to make meaningful impacts on the lives of patients in the UK and beyond.

The team were given access to mentors to hone their business idea before pitching to a panel of judges at the final, hosted in London, competing against nine other finalists.

As well as their cash prize, the team will be provided with space at the Stevenage BioScience Catalyst, business and intellectual property support and assistance in networking with life science businesses in Oxford, Cambridge, London and further afield.

Dr Daniel Bracewell, who has been closely involved in Puridify’s development, said the team’s victory was well deserved.

“I have worked closely with Oliver over the last twelve months in the department and seen first-hand his commitment to making Puridify a success. The company is developing a genuinely market-changing technology with the potential to significantly broaden patient access to a wide range of pharmaceuticals.”