Innovative team from LSTM and University of Leicester win prize for best healthcare plan at the YES22 Competition

News article 3 Feb 2023

A team of young researchers from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Ashleigh Howard and Steven Mitini-Nkhoma, joined Charlotte Fawcett from University of Leicester, to enter this year’s YES22 competition and won the prize for the Best Healthcare Plan!

YES22 is an annual competition for UK HEIs that helps Master and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, research fellows, and technicians, learn about commercialising research ideas. The LSTM/University of Leicester team combined expertise to come up with the hypothetical scientific basis for a business Patch Perspective, using the skills they learned to prepare the R&D and commercial plan to develop their product the PhagePatch.

PhagePatch was proposed as a bacteriophage skin patch designed to treat patients suffering from diabetic ulcers. The team’s business plan sought £10 million to conduct a phase II clinical trial of their product and secure a licensing partner to take it to market. Diabetic foot ulcers that fail to heal are a significant burden to both patients and healthcare providers - and a leading cause of amputation in the UK. Ashleigh, Charlotte, and Steven commented on their experience of YES: administration “Being part of YES22 has enabled us to develop commercial awareness and new business skills. Putting together our idea helped us delve into previously unfamiliar areas of business, with the support of amazing mentors. What we have learnt from YES22 we can take forward into our academic careers and beyond – as well as all the connections we’ve made!”

YES22 is a national competition open to PhD students, early career researchers, and technicians who can put together a team of up to five people, to develop a fictional business idea based on life science/healthcare, engineering, or environmental science. The teams get training in all aspects of developing a business: business planning; intellectual property; marketing; finance, research and development, and pitching to investors.