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Cancer therapy awarded $50K Massey Innovation Prize

17 October 2022

The $50,000 Massey Innovation Prize was awarded to Associate Professor Vyacheslav Filichev and his team from the School of Natural Sciences to begin R&D on a gene manipulation technology with potential to treat aggressive cancers.

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Associate Professor Vyacheslav Filichev and his team from the School of Natural Sciences accept the Massey Innovation Prize alongside judges.

With $50,000 pre-seed investment on offer, the Massey Innovation Prize is fast becoming a cornerstone in kickstarting commercialisation projects. Open to Massey University staff and students with innovative ideas, the Massey Innovation prize attracted entries from across the University, spanning therapeutics, food technology, hyperspectral imaging software, and industrial design.

Of the thirteen entries, five proceeded to pitch their ideas at the Massey Innovation Prize Finals, held October 14th. This year, the judging panel included a rich combination of commercialisation experience, including:

  • Maria Jose (MJ) Alvarez – Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, tech start-up founder, and Investor.

  • Dr Richard Winkworth – Senior Lecturer at Massey University, Founder, and Managing director at Ampersand Technologies.

  • Tomas Ribeiro – Business Development Manager and Patent Attorney at University of Otago.


​“I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and diversity of finalists” says Alvarez, one of the 2022 judges. "The teams were prepared to answer questions and absorb all the feedback the judges had for them. I look forward to seeing their ventures progress, as each of them has a lot of potential, and with the support of Massey Ventures, I can see all of them making a mark on their respective fields”


All three external judges noted by the quality of the innovations emerging from Massey and noted that any of the finalists were worthy recipients. After thorough deliberation, the judges awarded the prize to Associate Professor Vyacheslav Filichev and his team to develop and commercialise their gene editing technology, which has a potential to expand beyond the field of medicine.

While there could only be one winner, the participants all benefited from the presentation workshops and webinars run by the Massey Ventures and Massey Enterprise teams. In addition, all the finalists received detailed recommendations from the judges.

“My team and I are grateful for the opportunity to present our idea to the judges, discuss it with them, and receive their advice,” says Associate Professor Vyacheslav Filichev. “This award allows us to perform crucial proof-of-concept experiments and establish our technology’s potential to future investors.”


With the ongoing success, Massey Ventures has committed to continuing the Massey Innovation Prize with official dates yet to be announced for 2023. For more information and to find out how Massey Ventures can support your innovative research, get in touch!

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