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Build a Biotech

'Bridging innovation in the Northwest'



  • Undergraduate, Postgraduate student, PDRA and university staff at a Northwest UK university. 

  • Team of 1-4 participants (containing at least 1 student).

  • Be available for competition key dates: 21st March (virtually), 25th March (virtually) and 7th of May (in-person).


Please be aware that the general idea may be disclosed in the general public, you are responsible to take the steps needed to protect your IP accordingly.

Full Guidelines Here

Please read the guidelines fully before registering.

Full Overview

“Build a Biotech” is a start-up competition organised by the Northwest Biotech Initiative in collaboration with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Catalyst and the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre. The main aim of the competition is to make biotech innovation coming from academia in the northwest a sounding reality. The participants will learn how to turn a good idea into a real business opportunity and have the chance to pitch to investors and industry experts. The winners teams will receive up to £15000 cash prize, with the possibility to access laboratory facilities and a specialized accelerator program to further develop their start-up with the support of the Innovation District Manchester initiative. 


This year, we are delighted to announce that we will deliver an in-person competition that will host the seminar “From PhD to startup” in parallel. You will have the chance to listen to a successful founder and a venture capital firm that will facilitate further networking among the entrepreneurial biotech ecosystem. While the competition will be closed to participants only, the seminar attendees will have the opportunity to hear and vote for the best Elevator pitch of the finalists (optional to the teams), to give them additional cash prizes. 


This competition is open to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, PDRAs and university staff in biotechnology related fields who are interested in gaining a thorough understanding of entrepreneurship in biotechnology. The applicants will be selected on the basis of their application and demonstration of their business potential. The places are limited to 10 teams. Teams should be between 1-4 people and must contain at least one student (undergraduate, masters or PhD). If you would like to participate but don’t have a team and would really like to partner with someone, please email us at and we will do our best to find you a team. In case no one else is available, you can submit your application as a solo founder and if successful, we can connect you with our network to help you find co-founders. 

Competition format

“Build a Biotech” competition has six key dates:

  • 20th March: Registration Deadline (fill google form to provide names, degrees, and universities of each participant and team/startup name)

  • 21st March: Day 1 - Virtual Business workshop session 1: Introduction and innovation

  • 25th March: Day 2 - Virtual Business workshop session 2: Intellectual property and finance

  • 31st March: Submission deadline (fill the application form and email it to:

  • 7th April:  Notification to the Finalists

  • 8th – 31 April: Mentoring session (matching schedule, max 1 hour)

  • 7th May: Competition day – pitch in front of experts and awards ceremony


The competition will require the interested teams to complete an application form describing their idea/technology and how they plan to translate their idea into a start-up. Upon the registration deadline (20th of March), participants will have access to two specialized workshops delivered by Kevin Parker, focusing on the commercialisation of science. These workshops will have particular focus on setting-up a business, funding and intellectual property. We encourage you to register as soon as possible since the workshops include material to watch in advance, so that you can take the most out of them. You will have one extra week to polish your application after the last online (zoom) workshop, but we recommend you to start working on it as soon as possible, to increase your chance of being shortlisted. 


Upon notification to the finalists, the teams will have 1 month to prepare a 10 min presentation for a pitch. Details and guidance on how to prepare the pitch will be given in the workshop sessions. Teams will be expected to defend their pitches and answer questions about the startup, from both technological and commercial perspectives. After the pitches, the panel of experts will evaluate the presentations and award prizes to the three best teams.


Build a Biotech Programme


Day 1 - Thursday 21st March – workshop 1


  • 16:00 - 17:00: Introduction and Innovation - turning science into life-saving treatments or devices. What should be in your pitch? What makes a technology interesting to the 'real world'?

  • 17:00 - 17:15: Break 

  • 17:15 - 18:15: Understanding markets - researching your innovation, getting evidence from stakeholders and thinking about your business model


Day 2 - Monday 25th March – workshop 2

  • 16:00 - 17:00: Intellectual property - what is it and who owns it? How does it link with your business strategy?

  • 17:00 - 17:15: Break 

  • 17:15 - 18:15: Finance - time and money. How long is it going to take us to do this? How much is it going to cost?


Pitch preparation period and mentoring session

  • Time and date to be agreed between mentor and team (max 1 hour), 8th-30th April.


Day 3 - 7th of May -  Competition Day - Teams Perspective 

Venue: Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, LG.010


  • 13:00 - 13:55 Welcome lunch (Food & Drink provided)

  • 13:55 - 14:00 Competition Kick Off

  • 14:00 - 15:00 Closed Presentations - First Block (4 Teams)

  • 15:00 - 15:20 Coffee Break 

  • 15:20 - 16:20 Closed Presentations - Second Block (4 Teams)

  • 16:20 - 16:35 Second Coffee Break

  • 16:35 - 17:05 Closed Presentation - Third Block (2 Teams)

  • 17:05 - 17:25 Judges deliberation and Elevator Pitches to Public

  • 17:25 - 17:35 Winners Announcements and Closing Statements

  • 17:35 - 18:35 Drinks and Networking




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