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Medical Technologies Dominate UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

San Diego, CA, June 18, 2012 -- The pitches at the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge included technologies to cure cancer, brain-computer interfaces for patients without speech, an automated portfolio management system, sensor assisted orthopedic surgery, garbage compactors, and an enhanced dental implant. More than 300 students, faculty, investors, professionals and entrepreneurs attended as a panel of judges from San Diego’s business and technology communities determined who would take home $100K in funding and advisory services in the 6thannual UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge.

In the end, medical technologies ruled the day. Kenan Azam, CEO for the Entrepreneur Challenge and a programmer/analyst in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, described 2012 as a record year in both number and quality of submissions, which he believes is an indication of growth in San Diego’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The quality of the participating teams forced planners to expand the number of finalists from five to seven. Teams connected to the Jacobs School took the top two spots.

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UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge 2012

 

First prize, with $57,000 in cash and services went to Nasseo, Inc., a medical device startup that has developed novel technologies to treat dental/orthopedic implant failures.The technology was primarily developed in the lab of Sungho Jin, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Nasseo is led by Garrett Cale Smith (Co-Founder, CEO), a PhD Candidate in Bioengineering at the Jacobs School.

Second prize with $28,000 in cash and services went to SONRGY, which is aiming to be a leader in localized drug delivery directed to cancer tumors. SONRGY’s focused-ultrasound-enabled proprietary nanocarriers improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy by reducing administered dose and toxic side effects through exquisite 3D spatial selectivity. SONRGY is led by a seasoned team of technology leaders, entrepreneurs, and marketing experts including co-inventors Michael Benchimol and professor Sadik Esener from the NanoEngineering Department and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

In its six years of existence, the Entrepreneur Challenge has raised and awarded over $500,000 in prizes to enterprising students and researchers. Many of these start-ups have continued to grow and have raised significant venture funding.

Challenge VP Rajesh Grover, a scientist at The Scripps Research Institute, and COO Helen Saad, a PhD candidate in bioengineering, honored six San Diego based start-ups that started out by winning the Entrepreneur Challenge. These companies are: NeuroVigil, Biological Dynamics, Cognionics, Cypher Genomics, Lumedyne Technologies and The Nicholas Conor Institute.

Read more about the 2012 winning teams in the information below, prepared by the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge. Read the coverage in Xconomy here.

First Prize: Nasseo, Inc.

Nasseo, Inc. took home first prize and $57,000 in cash and services. Nasseo is a medical device startup that has developed novel technologies to treat dental/orthopedic implant failures. Dental implants are one of the fastest growing, multi-billion dollar markets within the US healthcare system. Nasseo’s first product is a dental implant that utilizes a proprietary surface modification technology to provide a 9x stronger bone-to-implant bonding. The technology was primarily developed in the lab of Dr. Sungho Jin, Chair of Materials Science program at UC San Diego.

Nasseo is led by Garrett Cale Smith (Co-Founder, CEO), a PhD Candidate in Bioengineering at UC San Diego and a Stanford Biodesign Fellow Alumni; and Kayvon Pourmirzaie (Co-Founder, COO), a UC San Diego Bioengineering and USD School of Law graduate with medtech IP law experience. Nasseo’s strong interdisciplinary team includes Gary Johnston, a UC San Diego PhD Candidate in Materials Science, Handan Yildiran, Master’s Candidate in Medicine and Technology, Technical University of Denmark, and Sean Madanipour, a Rady MBA Candidate.

Contact: Garrett Smith garrett AT nasseo DOT com

Second Prize: SONRGY

SONRGY won second prize and took home $28,000 in cash and services. SONRGY is aiming to be a leader in localized drug delivery directed to cancer tumors. SONRGY’s focused ultrasound enabled proprietary nanocarriers improve the effectiveness of cancer therapy by reducing administered dose and toxic side effects through exquisite 3D spatial selectivity. SONRGY is led by a seasoned team of technology leaders, entrepreneurs, and marketing experts including co-inventors Michael Benchimol and Sadik Esener from the NanoEngineering Department and the Moores Cancer Center at UCSD.

Contact: Michael Benchimol mbenchim AT ucsd DOT edu

Third Prize: Uroboros Technologies

Uroboros Technologies LLC won third prize and took home $15,500 in cash and services. Uroboros Technologies is dedicated to producing the next generation of cancer therapeutics with the DeNAnoTM platform. This revolutionary technology produces DNA nanoparticles that act like tiny octopi trained to grab onto and kill cancer cells but not healthy cells. By selectively targeting cancer cells, new therapies can be made that will have better patient outcomes with fewer side effects. The technology was invented at UC San Diego and is being developed to treat leukemia and solid tumors. Uroboros Technologies LLC was founded by students and researchers from the Scripps Research Institute and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

Contact: Bradley Messmer bmessmer AT ucsd DOT edu

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About the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge

The UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge is a wholly student founded non-profit organization with the mission of educating, connecting, and funding aspiring student entrepreneurs at UC San Diego and neighboring research institutes. In its six years of existence, the Entrepreneur Challenge has raised and awarded over $500,000 in prizes to enterprising students and researchers.  Many of these start-ups have continued to grow and have raised significant venture funding. For more information, visit the Entrepreneur Challenge website.

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Media Contacts

Daniel Kane
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-534-3262
dbkane@ucsd.edu Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering
Phone: 858-822-0899
ipatrin@ucsd.edu

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