Background Information

About BioStars

BioStars is a life and health sciences comprehensive accelerator programme established and run by Panacea Innovation (previously known as Oxford Biotech) aimed at enabling the bio-entrepreneurs of tomorrow to turn their scientific ideas into marketable products. It comprises two distinct streams: the Open stream is tailored for individuals/teams with a specific scientific idea which they want to take forward as a business plan; the Structured stream offers early career scientists and entrepreneurs to work on projects that have been proposed by our industrial, academic and translational partners.

BioStars forms a networking portal that enables hands-on-communication between talented young scientists and entrepreneurs together with the relevant industry leaders. 


About Panacea Innovation

Our mission at Panacea Innovation is to enable as much health and life sciences innovation as we can.  Mostly this means creating new ventures with high returns, shortening gestation time and reducing burn rate. But also providing our societies with the infrastructure required to build a knowledgeable and well trained generation of bio-entrepreneurs and to keep a continuous spark of the conversation of Translating Innovating Science into Disruptive Business. Find more information here.


Application process

How do I enter?

Teams may enter by completion of the online application form for either the Open stream (link to form here) or the Structured stream (link to form here). One member of each team should complete the form, which includes a publishable one-line pitch (for the Open stream). Teams are welcome to enter either the Open and/or the Structured stream. The application form must be submitted by GMT 2359 on the deadline day (Wed 7th December 2016).


What are the key dates of the competition?

•      24th October 2016: BioStars applications open

•      October/November: InfoSessions (Oxford, London, Manchester) + Networking (Cambridge, Oxford, London)  events

•      7th December 2016: Applications close

•      Late December 2016: Accepted applications announced

•      21st January 2017: “Meet your Lead mentors” Workshop I (at the University of Oxford)

•      11th February 2017: “Meet your Specialist mentors” Workshop II (at the University of Oxford)

•      4th March 2017: Pitching practice and business plan submission (at the University of Oxford)

•      March/April 2017: Grand Finale, location TBA


Is there an entry fee?

There is no charge for participating in BioStars. However, additional costs may be incurred through participation, for example to cover travel expenses to/from Oxford and accommodation. Teams are strongly encouraged to apply for financial support from their home institutions/organisations if necessary.


What types of ideas are welcome?

All health and life sciences ideas are welcome, no restrictions.


How developed must the business be?

Submissions at all stages of development; from those at a nascent stage to more advanced projects with IP filed and pre-clinical development started.


Who is eligible to participate?

The competition is open to graduate and MBA students, academics, industry professionals and other aspiring entrepreneurs with relevant skillsets. We welcome applications from individuals or teams.. Each team must meet the following conditions:

•                Include at least one member who is under the age of 35 years at the close of applications

•                Be composed of no more than 6 members in total.

There are no other restrictions in place.


What if I don’t have a team?

You can still apply if you have an idea for a business but do not have a team yet. MatchMaker events will be organised prior to the application deadline to enable you to either recruit other entrepreneurs to broaden your existing team’s skillset or to look for a team to build or join.


What if I don’t have an idea, can I still participate?

If you meet our entry requirements, YES of course! We will help you find suitable partners at the MatchMaker events!


Can I submit an idea for a business that has already received funding?

There are no restrictions in place regarding amount of funding received. We actively encourage participants to seek additional sources of funding throughout the competition and beyond.


Is there any benefit to submitting before the deadline?

Applicants are encouraged to apply at their earliest convenience as the applications will be reviewed as they are received, and you may have an opportunity to receive feedback to improve your application.


How long will it take before the winning ideas are chosen?

The finalists will be selected in November and the winner will be announced during the Finals Gala on March in Oxford.



What is the prize?

The winner receives £30k in non-dilutive funding which must be used by the winning team to develop their idea to the next stage

The competition aims to assist the development and future success of all aspiring bio-entrepreneurs. All accepted applications will therefore receive extensive mentoring and ample opportunities to interact with leading pharma executives, investors and experienced entrepreneurs, as well as specialist professionals.


What can I do with the prize? Can I keep the money for myself?

The prize money is meant to develop the business and must be used solely for that purpose. The prize is awarded to the whole team.


Structure and rules of the competition

How is the competition structured?

Anyone meeting the eligibility requirements may submit an application form. Applications from individuals or teams at all stages of development are welcome. The application does not require a full proposal or business plan but should demonstrate the potential of your idea.

Up to 30 finalists teams will be selected to progress as finalists, where they will be offered expert advice and guidance from our Mentors. Each workshop session will develop core skills necessary for success in the business world and is designed to augment the mentoring provided through BioStars.

At the final stage, teams are asked to prepare a business plan and an investor slide deck. The finalists will then be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges who will decide the final winner in March.


May I also apply with my team to other competitions and seek other sources of funding?

Yes, BioStars applicants may apply to other business plan competitions and seek external sources of funding.


Intellectual Property

Can participation in the competition affect my Intellectual Property rights?

BioStars applicants retain all intellectual property rights concerning their proposed idea, pending other agreements voluntarily entered into. All applicants are reminded to ensure that they can communicate their idea clearly and non-confidentially in written and spoken word.

Note that all applicants agree to allow BioStars and Panacea Innovation to use the following fields in their first round application for marketing purposes: Team Name, One-Line Pitch, Description of your idea to be made public on the BioStars website.

Please see further details in our Terms & Conditions section. 


Further information

Where can I find more information?

Please read carefully through the FAQs on this page and the other pages of this website. If you still cannot find what you are looking for, drop us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.