iDU Optics and OneThreeBiotech Take Home Prizes at 2016 Pitch Day Finals

By Thomas Galassi


After three months of lectures and three rounds of business plan pitches we are proud to announce the winners and runners-up of the 2016 BBI Pitch Day competition as:

  • iDu Optics – LabCam microscope adapter (First Place)
    • Members:
      • Du Cheng – Tri-I MD/PhD Program, Inventor of technology
      • Shaun Tao, Rockefeller University
      • Yin-Yin Wang, Sales Representative, Stemcell Technologies
      • Tania Silcott, Clinical Analyst, Code Blue Informatics
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Team iDu Optics with Nigel Liverton, Executive Director at WuXi AppTec
  • OneThree Biotech – A better approach to drug target convolution (Runner-up)
    • Members:
      • Neel Madhukar – Weill Cornell PhD Student, Inventor of Technology
      • Robert Fieldhouse – Post Doctoral Fellow, Mount Sinai
      • Suranjit Mukherjee – Weill Cornell PhD Student
      • Rafal Wiewiora – Tri-I PhD Student
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Team OneThreeBiotech with their prize provided by the Big Red Venture Fund

In what was without a doubt the strongest, most competitive BBI Pitch Day competition yet, these two teams stood above the rest and captured several coveted, and valuable, prizes. Each team presented a phenomenal seven minute business plan pitch and then aptly responded to the judges during the ensuing four minute question and answer session.  For their performances on Pitch Day the teams were rewarded with several, extremely valuable prizes from some of BBI’s most gracious sponsors:

  • WuXi AppTec generously provided a $1000 prize for the first place iDu Optics team. WuXi AppTec is a leading global pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device open-access capability and technology platform global operation that provides a broad an integrated portfolio of services throughout the R&D process.
  • The Big Red Venture Fund and its fund manager Kiel Iwanek, provided a $500 prize for the second place OneThreeBiotech team. The Big Red Venture Fund is an early-stage venture capital fund operated entirely by a team of MBA students at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management that typically invests up to $250,000 in U.S.-based high-growth companies across all industries.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels have presented iDu Optics with the opportunity to pitch at 1st Pitch Life Sciences, an event designed to encourage and educate aspiring life science entrepreneurs who know they may be too early to seek investment but want the opportunity to practice their pitch and to receive constructive criticism from experienced and knowledgeable professionals.
  • inDinero is graciously offering $500 in accounting services to both iDu Optics and OneThreeBiotech. inDinero is a software with service accounting company that acts as an outsourced controller for its clients that aims to free up its clients to focus on the more strategic imperatives of their business.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, this year’s Pitch Day contestants will be well prepared should they decide to move their business plans forward and attempt to turn their technologies into incorporated start-up companies.

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BBI would like to thank their gracious sponsors for their generous support

Two Teams Take Home Valuable Prizes during BBI’s Elimination Round

By Thomas Galassi


On Tuesday November 15th, BBI held the Elimination Round of its annual business plan competition. Seventeen remaining teams presented their seven minute pitches and were then questioned by the judges for two additional minutes. During the elimination round two consulting prizes (each a $500 value) were awarded to two teams that competed in the Pitch Day Finals on December 13th:

  • iDU Optics was awarded the KevinBizGlobal Prize. The prize included a complementary 90 minute consulting session with Kevin FitzGerald, founder of the startup and leadership coaching firm KevinBizGlobal,  an online service connecting and mentoring entrepreneurs worldwide.
  • OneThreeBiotech was awarded the Blue Cactus Consulting Prize. This prize included a complementary two hour consulting session with Yaniv Sneor, co-founder of Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels1st Pitch Life Sciences, and Blue Cactus Consulting, a firm with expertise assisting physical and life science companies with business strategy and technology commercialization and monetization.
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Thank you to our gracious sponsors Blue Cactus Consulting and KevinBizGlobal

According to the winners these consulting prizes were “invaluable as [they] prepared for both the Pitch Day and any future entrepreneurial activities.” This was evidenced by the fact that both iDU Optics and OneThreeBiotech gave award winning pitches during the Final Round on December 13th. We would like to thank KevinBizGlobal and Blue Cactus Consulting for their generosity as their prizes had a big hand in raising the quality of BBI’s 4th annual Pitch Day Competition.

 

Seven Teams Advance to Pitch Day Finals

By Thomas Galassi


On Tuesday November 15th, BBI held the Elimination Round of its annual business plan competition. Seventeen remaining teams presented their seven minute pitches and were then questioned by the judges for two additional minutes. Judges selected which teams would advance to the final round of the Pitch Day Competition on December 13th. This year’s finalists represent all three institutions of the Tri-Institution and are listed below, with the inventing institution’s licensing office or individual in parentheses:

  • Sensogen – Pulse-oximetry technologies (Sloan Kettering)
  • PARP Wash – Revolutionizing Oral Cancer DetectionTM (Sloan Kettering)
  • New Lymph node imaging in breast cancer surgery with light emitting nanoparticles (Sloan Kettering)
  • RU4 Therapeutics – Jq1 as a novel therapy for treating epileptic seizures (Rockefeller)
  • Toxidem – Making in vitro toxicology faster, less expensive, & more accurate (Weill Cornell)
  • OneThree Biotech – A better approach to drug target convolution (Weill Cornell)
  • iDu Optics – LabCam microscope adapter (Du Cheng, MD, PhD student)

Teams will revise their pitches based off feedback from mentor judges and BBI TAs in preparation for December 13th. Two teams that will certainly have an advantage going into the final competition are the winners of this year’s Yaniv Sneor, and Kevin FitzGerald Consultation prizes. The winners of these prizes that will be competing in the final round of pitches are:

  • iDu Optics – Kevin FitzGerald Prize. This prize includes a complementary 90 minute consulting session with Kevin FitzGerald, founder of the startup and leadership coaching firm KevinBizGlobal ($500 value).
  • OneThreeBiotech – Yaniv Sneor Prize. This prize includes a complementary two hour consulting session with Yaniv Sneor, co-founder of Mid-Atlantic Bio Angels, 1st Pitch Life Sciences, and Blue Cactus Consulting ($500 value).

The remainder of this year’s prizes will be announced after the final round of pitches on December 13th. In previous competitions the winner of the Pitch Day competition showed major improvements in their pitches between the Elimination and Final Rounds, so we expect this year’s contest to be wide open, and wish all of the competing teams the best of luck moving forward.


To get free tickets to the December 13th Pitch Day Competition click here.

We would like to give a special thanks to all of our gracious mentors for their time.

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Teams Present Practice Pitches & Select Preliminary “Audience Choice” Pitches

By Thomas Galassi and  Sarah Kishinevsky


On Tuesday November 1, BBI teams presented the first drafts of their practice business plan pitches in the Practice Round Pitch Day. Teams received comments from business mentors and technology licensing officers (TLO), who were gracious enough to help prepare teams for the Pitch Day Competition on December 13th. Judges of the practice round included Imke Ehlers, Ph. D. (Memorial Sloan Kettering TLO), Nidhi Sabharwal, Ph.D. (Rockefeller University TLO), Dan Oscar, Ph. D. (Weill Cornell Medicine TLO), Gene Resnick, M.D. (Averion International Corporation), Phil Crowley, J.D. (Former legal councel,  Johnson and Johnson), Nigel Liverton, Ph. D. (WuXi AppTech), Jerry Korten, MS (QoL Devices), Marissa Tricarico (Merst Ventures LLC), Frank Borchetta, JD (Repairogen) and Linda Masat, PhD (Takeda Development Center).

In addition to hearing from mentors and TLOs, BBI participants voted for their favorite pitch in the first and second half. To ensure participants were not able to vote for their own teams, members whose team presented in the first half of the program were asked to only vote on the second half of the program and vice versa. After tallying up the votes BBI has awarded two teams with the “Audience Choice Award” for practice round pitches. The “Audience Choice” award teams from the Practice Round are:

  • PARP Wash – Revolutionizing Oral Cancer Detection (first half)
  • One Three Biotech – Accelerating Drug Development Through Novel Computation (second half)

Moving forward, BBI teams will be incorporating feedback into revised pitches and will be attending one on one mentoring sessions this week with BBI teaching assistants and mentors. After improving their pitches, teams will present once again at the Elimination Round on November 15th, where the judges will choose the finalist teams to present in the December 13th Pitch Day Competition. While PARP Wash and One Three Biotech may have won the first two awards of the class, other teams are sure to improve their pitches and make the next few weeks of this year’s BBI series an exciting competition.


To get free tickets to the December 13th Pitch Day Competition click here.

We would like to give a special thanks to all of our gracious mentors for their time.

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Mentorship Sessions Ready BBI Teams for Pitch Day

By Thomas Galassi and Sarah Kishinevsky


As BBI teams move past the halfway point of this year’s seminar series, preparations for the annual pitch day competition are intensifying. Over the past two weeks teams have been focusing their business plans by giving one minute “elevator pitches” to small groups of business mentors. Teams first presented to and received feedback from recent BBI/Tri-I alumni mentors working in biotech, pharma, banking, and venture capital on October 11th.  Alumni mentors included Joel Schrock, PhD-MBA (Pfizer), Claire Wang, PhD (Regeneron), Natalya Gertsik, PhD (McKinsey), Paul Stomborn MD (Resident), Sriker Nadipurum, MBA (Barclays), Paul Dossa, PhD (Venrock), Mayur Gadiya (PhD Candidate), Tony Chen (PrimeVax) and Blake Stevens, PhD (Harris and Harris).Teams then spent the next week re-working their elevator pitches to present to a second round of experienced industry mentors in fields including business, law, venture capital, biotech, and pharma in the same format. These industry mentors included Jerry Korten, MS (QoL Devices), David Frank, PhD (Medx Associates LLC), Frank Borchetta, JD (Repairogen), Bruce Toman (Neuronasal), Nigel Liverton, (WuXi AppTec), Stephen Goodman, JD (Pryor Cashman LLP), and Arthur Klausner, MBA (Gem Pharmaceuticals).  Mentors then rated the elevator pitches presented to them and the top four teams were rewarded with free tickets to the Cornell Venture Summit on November 4th. Each session was followed by pizza and networking so that business plan teams could receive further mentorship in an informal setting.

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             BBI teams receive advice on their one minute pitches

More recently, teams have taken the advice given to them during the mentoring sessions and incorporated it into executive summaries which were handed in this week. After receiving feedback on these executive summaries from both BBI teaching assistants and their fellow classmates, teams will prepare their first pitch deck to be presented in a practice round on November 1st. This will give each team an opportunity to receive feedback on their full business plans before competing in the first elimination round of pitches where this year’s finalists will be selected. The competition will then culminate when mentors return to hear business plan presentations at our December 13th Pitch Day event where this year’s winner will be crowned.


We would like to give a special thanks to all of our gracious mentors for their time.

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BBI Seminar Series Kicks Off with Unprecedented Interest

By Mariam Giorgadze and Thomas Galassi


Last Tuesday BBI kicked off its 12 week seminar series. This year’s series has garnered unprecedented interest, as over 300 people registered for the kick-off event, with over 140 of those people showing interest in forming a team to compete in December’s Pitch Day competition.

Highlights from the kick-off event included the key note address delivered by Dr. Renier Brentjens co-founder of Juno Therapeutics, and talks from BBI alumni Kate Rochlin, founder of Immunovent, and Frank Borchetta, co-founder of Repairogen. They discussed the lessons they learned while translating an idea from the lab to the business world. Dr. Brentjens emphasized the importance of blending the scientific experience with business acumen saying: “Innovation in Biotech comes from academia; but to be successful you need to build a team with the right skillset.”

Listening to Kate’s and Frank’s stories about their experiences since finishing the BBI program delivered a clear message: that founding a biotech start-up requires persistence, patience, attention to detail, and the ability to form the right connections. Thus far Kate and Frank have been able to move their companies forward, and the lessons they learned while part of BBI have certainly helped them along their journeys.

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Attendees network and look for team members after the BBI kick-off event (photo courtesy of Meredith Wright Photography

At the BBI class immediately following the kick-off event, over 100 attendees indicated they were interested in following in Frank and Kate’s footsteps by forming practice business plan teams. Interested participants heard about available technologies from licensing officers at Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Rockefeller University. Those interested in creating a practice business plan around a patented technology have until September 28 to form a team, and can find potential team members here.

Moving forward in the seminar series participants will start receiving hands-on mentorship form business experts on how to build an idea into feasible business, market it, and attract investments. This will culminate with the annual Pitch Day competition on December 13, where this year’s winning team will be crowned.


We would like to give a special thanks to Meredith Wright Photography who took pictures of the event. Anyone interested in seeing Meredith’s portfolio should click here.

We would also like to thank our speakers at kick-off event as well as the Tri-Institutional licensing officers for their time.

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Three types of non-technical team members crucial for biotech startups

By Mariam Giorgadze and Thomas Galassi


Even a company with a useful and innovative technology will fail without the right team guiding it to market. Here, we discuss three types of people whose complementary expertise is crucial to the success of a biotech company. To contribute your expertise to a biotech startup, click HERE. To meet technical experts, attend our Entrepreneurship Networking Event on Sept 13th.

Complimentary co-founders

To turn their inventions into investable companies, inventors should recruit teammates with strong business development and engineering capabilities. Teaming up with people who understand how to negotiate with investors, sell ideas, and quickly and efficiently build up viable solutions to the company’s problems is critical. This is a core part of BBI’s mission – bridging the gap between business professionals and inventors to facilitate their successful networking to help them form the teams.

Advisors

While having co-founders with complimentary skill sets is crucial, an experienced advisory board is what will take companies to the next level. Having access to people who have gone through the same path as a start-up will be an invaluable asset to the company. No matter how well prepared the founders of a start-up are there is no substitute for the experience of someone who has been there before. An experienced advisory board can provide shortcuts to get things done, access to professional networks, and also provide objective opinions on the company’s ideas. While recruiting the right advisors may take some time, it certainly pays off as time well spent.

Investors

According to recent report from the global health innovation company Startup Health, investments in health care industry have become more stabilized since experiencing major hype back in 2014. Although 2016 has seen 1.8 billion dollars in funding towards the healthcare industry, investors have gotten more conscious about what they invest in. This is largely because some of the healthcare solutions that previously received major investments have yet to achieve sustainable growth.

To successfully achieve sustainable growth, it is also crucial that a start-up finds the right investors for that company. While all investors will be able to provide capital, the right investor will push the company towards profits by providing guidance, networking opportunities, and stability which will ultimately lead the company towards sustainable growth.

Obviously, finding people that meet the criteria above and having an innovative technology to work with is an extremely difficult task. Fortunately programs such as Entrepreneurship Lab NYC and the Bench to Bedside Initiative (BBI) exist to help entrepreneurs accomplish this task. These programs hold events such as BBI’s Entrepreneurship Networking Event on Sept 13th, where individuals can meet people with the skill necessary to form successful start-ups. If this is something you would be interested in you can register for this event and find team members using the links below.


To find team members click HERE.

To register for the September 13th event click HERE.