Parmee Prize 2017 Winner: OpenDiagnostics

by Alice Oates

Congratulations to Emily Groves (2012) who, along with her team, is the winner of this year’s Parmee Prize for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise.

Pic 1OpenDiagnostics is developing a method of using synthetic biology and paper microfluidics to produce low cost, in-field tests for everything from viruses to metal contamination in water. The technology works through rehydrating the paper with the fluid to be tested, which, should the substance of interest be present, triggers a clear colour change that is simple to understand.   This kind of technology has been used to identify the Zika and Ebola virus, whilst OpenDiagnostics were particularly interested in agricultural applications, e.g. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) screening.

The Parmee Prize is an entrepreneurial award sponsored by Richard Parmee (1970), a William Pitt Fellow of the College whose company, Cheyney Group, is a member of the Pembroke corporate partnership programme. The DG Marshall Trust also contributed to the prize this year.  The competition offers all student applicants a unique combination of advice and practical support, as well as the prize for the winner. The judges this year were Simon Harris (1969) of Envestors Ltd, Piers Morgan (1985) of Pathway Biotech Ltd, Mark Mann (1999) of Oxford University Innovation, and Samantha Deacon (2004) of Taylor Wessing.

All of the entries this year were of a very high quality.  Other entries included ‘yourCode’, designed to enhance the Pic 2personalised medicine market through (relatively) cheap collection of high quality genomic data sets (Harley Katz, 2013); an app for connecting people interested in sharing and learning about personal causes, such as environmentalism or veganism (Lam Hammond, 2013); an online marketplace for code (Rafi Schmetterling, 2015); an app that provides a comprehensive sexual health guide targeted at the LGBT+ community, (Alexa Segal, 2016); and an ear-piece combined with a phone app that enables people to hold conversations over high levels of background noise, such as in a bar (Katie Fox, 2014).

Thank you and well done to all entrants!