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OneStart 2016 Applications are Now Open to Young Innovators Across All Continents

Jess Sutcliffe - Marketing and Communications Director - OneStart/OBR

OneStart is the world’s premier life sciences and healthcare accelerator. On October 1st applications open for its 4th annual competition, welcoming ideas from across therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and health IT.

In total, alumni have raised millions in follow-on funding from leading investment firms as well as research councils and charities. Companies launched from the platform include Eva Diagnostics deemed 1 of the 7 most promising UK technologies earlier this year.

The competition seeks the most talented and innovative entrepreneurs, under the age of 36, to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Composed of two parallel streams – one for the Americas, another for Europe and the rest of the world – the competition offers a non-dilutive grand prize of US$150,000 (or UK£100,000) and vital laboratory space to the top team from each stream. All semi-finalist teams will also receive advice and guidance from industry leaders.

“Supporting young life science entrepreneurs to start companies based on exciting ideas is critical for future innovations and the OneStart program does exactly that,” said Dr Ilan Zipkin, Seniour Investment Director of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.’s capital venture arm. “We have been impressed with the OneStart approach. Not only is company creation good for the biotech ecosystem, but the instruction and mentoring that OneStart provides those entrepreneurs is a real benefit.”

From OneStart’s founding in 2012 by the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR) and SR One, the programme has grown rapidly from a UK-based initiative to a global movement, with support from global and regional partners Takeda Ventures Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, GSK, Roche, AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Boehringer Ingelheim, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, McKinsey & Co., Silicon Valley Bank, Olswang, MedCity and more. Entries tripled from 2014 to 2015, reaching 638 applicant startups from 50 countries for OneStart 2015. 


Applications are examined by a panel of industry leaders, from which 35 semi-finalist companies per stream are selected to attend a two-day intensive business bootcamp in February 2016 and receive 7 weeks of dedicated mentorship in order to hone their business plan and refine their investor pitches.


Dr Lynne Murray, responsible for Partner and Strategy at Medimmune the worldwide biologics division of Astrazeneca adds:


“OneStart is a great and exciting competition where budding entrepreneurs compete for not only winning overall, but the opportunity to take part, as that in itself is a prize.  Once accepted on to the programme the teams are given potentially unlimited access to biotech and pharma executives, as well as investors and professionals who are actively involved in some of the key deals shaping the future of pharmaceutical R&D. It’s great to be involved with the programme as it provides industry the access to the entrepreneurs of the future, to see what areas excite them and also understand their backgrounds and inspirations for their career path.  You never know, we may end up working for them one day!” 

“The bootcamp provides a fantastic opportunity for the shortlisted entrepreneurs. This is the first step for many in turning their idea – written on paper – into reality. The bootcamp covers a wide range of issues, including crucially, understanding the market for the idea, whether it is a product or a service,” says Sarah Haywood, Chief Operating Officer of MedCity. 

“Using all they have gained from the 2 days, coupled with the intensive mentoring that they receive, you see an incredible transformation as a new set of enterprises start to take shape.  Turning great ideas into new business is at the heart of MedCity’s mission and it is really exciting to see the competition seeding new companies.”

In April 2016, 10 exceptional teams per stream will be selected for the Finals Gala to make their bid for the grand prize in May.


Nooman Haque, Director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in the UK, added:

“This competition has proven its ability to generate high quality business ideas from leading educational institutions across Europe. The involvement of many of the world's leading life science companies further ensures future young entrepreneurs get the best guidance possible. Silicon Valley Bank is excited to bring its expertise to the initiative and to support biotech entrepreneurs across Europe.”

“This competition is a perfect fit for us – not least because it mirrors Olswang’s entrepreneurial reputation and involvement in bringing cutting-edge technology to the market.  Our view is that without supporting entrepreneurs, and their innovative businesses, there is a significant risk that society loses valuable opportunities.  The beauty of the OneStart program is that it has consistently attracted high quality science and technology together with energetic entrepreneurs eager to learn and commercialise it.  We get excited helping mentor and guide the innovators of that science and technology, making sure it gets the best opportunity for commercialisation.” – Stephen Reese, Partner at Olswang.

OneStart provides promising companies and bright young minds with the entrepreneurial skillsets and access to industry resources required to take their healthcare innovations to the next stage.


“Digital health has the power to transform how healthcare is delivered and received, aiming to improve patient outcomes. Boehringer Ingelheim continuously works to provide patients with the best outcomes, and to that end is happy to support OneStart in the advancement of digital health,” concludes Dr Oliver Reuss, Head of Business Model and Healthcare Innovation at Boehringer Ingelheim.

For more details about OneStart 2016, see 


About Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR)

Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable was founded in 2011 with the aim of creating better ties between academia and industry.  This is achieved through encouraging enhanced communication and consultancy between the two sectors, with a 30,000 strong network of academic and industrial professionals. 


About SR One™

SR One is the independent corporate healthcare venture capital fund of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Founded in 1985 they have invested over $830MM into the biotechnology sector, with a 35 strong public and private portfolio, investing globally in companies that will have a significant impact on medical care.


About OneStart

OneStart is the world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator programme. Founded in 2012 it aims to encourage entrepreneurship among young and disruptive healthcare innovators.  Applications are open to all, from early to more developed businesses, whose idea focuses on improving human healthcare, irrespective of the type of technology. Participation is limited to individuals under the age of 36 and companies who have not raised more than £160,000 in dilutive funding.