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OneStart Life Science Entrepreneurship Competition Comes to the Americas

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Applications are currently being accepted from young, enthusiastic Life Science Entrepreneurs for the chance to translate their cutting edge research into a successful startup. The winner will receive $150K, lab space, and business and intellectual property legal support. 

By Benjamin Cohn
Staff Writer

The OneStart Americas competition, a partnership between Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable and SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline, officially launched on November 4 at UCSF. The kick-off event was followed by similar events held this month in Los Angeles, San Diego and Boston.

OneStart Americas invites individuals or teams of burgeoning life science entrepreneurs under 36 years of age to apply in one of four tracks: drug discovery, medical devices, diagnostics, or health information technology. 35 selected semi-finalists will undergo two-months of extensive mentorship from venture capitalists, pharmaceutical executives, and other entrepreneurs in order to turn their idea into a comprehensive business plan.

Entrants will compete for $150K, free lab space at QB3 in San Francisco for up to one year, and business and legal support. Winners will be selected from a pool of ten finalists based on criteria including innovation, potential impact on patient health, and quality of the business plan. The only stipulation is that the prize money be used to develop the idea. Unlike other entrepreneurial competitions, all intellectual property is retained by the winning team and neither OBR nor SR One claim any equity in the winning idea

John Daley, OneStart Director and a Stanford Law student, ran the inaugural OneStart competition in Europe last year and welcomed attendees of the UCSF launch event. “OneStart’s expansion into the Americas allows us to bring the incredible mentorship, networking and fundraising possibilities that we developed in Europe last year to the young bio-entrepreneurs here,” he said.

Jill Carroll, a Senior Associate at the San Francisco SR One office, also spoke at the UCSF launch. She stressed how OneStart fits into SR One’s strategic mandate of investing in innovation. It has been increasingly difficult for fledgling projects to raise early stage capital, and SR One aims to spur innovation by giving such projects a needed push. Carrol cited the partnership between academia and industry as a unique characteristic of OneStart, since many competitions of this sort are solely academic in nature.

OneStart’s focus on early-stage startups is a response to the difficulty these companies face getting support from more traditional sources of funding, like seed funds or venture capital. The competition welcomes ideas at all stages of development, with the emphasis on the potential of a team’s ideas, not necessarily how far the team has gotten in implementing their idea. Of course, applications still need to demonstrate sound scientific rationale for their business idea. 

More information on entry requirements, tools for recruiting team members, and the application process is available at http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/onestart/. Individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship but do not have a clear idea of their own and would like to join a team are encouraged to create a profile with the Co-Founders Hub at http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/onestart/find-co-founders-americas/.

Alicia Shiu contributed to this report.

Alicia Shiu is a PhD student in Neuroscience at Stanford University. Benjamin Cohn is a PhD student in Biomedical Sciences at UCSF.

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