“Keep in mind that successful companies are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution.” – STEVE BLANK

The Fall 2014 CSU I-CorpsTM Challenge program involved student teams.  Student teams started with a biotechnology idea, applied creative thought, and interviewed potential customers, partners and industry professionals to develop a value proposition for their biotechnology.   Teams attended webinars to learn about the customer discovery process, business model canvas concepts, business communications, legal and biotechnology regulatory issues. Webinars were taught by experienced life science entrepreneurs, industry professionals and faculty associated with the CSU I-Corps Biological Sciences Site.  Over the fall Challenge teams got out of their labs, innovation centers and classrooms and off campus to interview customers, potential partners, life science advisors and mentors. On the Final Weekend, Challenge teams presented their product concepts and lessons learned to four different evaluation panels at the 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium at the Santa Clara Marriott. Team success was gauged by the arc of learning, demonstrated by evidence-based evolution of a product-market fit, the ability to synthesize the feedback received over the course of the Challenge, and the team’s tenacity, enthusiasm and story-telling skills.

Fall 2014 CSU I-Corps Teams:

Akia (San José State University). Our product is a cutting-edge biomedical application to prevent skin cancer for the general public from every part of the world. Alina Lim (EL, undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering), Swetha Varadarajan (masters, Business Marketing), Thuy O (undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering) & Neda Nasr (undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering).

Alestron (San José State University).  The product concept is a cancer screening tool.  A’Lester Allen (EL, graduate, Biomedical Engineering), Katherine Moore (graduate, Biomedical Engineering) & Kevin Bencini.

Boron Labs (San Diego State University). Boron labs discovered a cutting-edge synthetic technique for designing novel fragments for drug discovery. Alyssa Kim, (EL, undergraduate, Chemistry), Ramya Sreekumar (masters, Management of Information Systems), James Thai (masters, Chemistry) & Stephanie Pinedo (undergraduate, Chemistry).

LightItUp (San José State University). Our product addresses the need for a fluorescent NIR tracer that is stable, non-fading, safe, and inexpensive to produce. Aneshkumar Tilwani (EL, masters, Biomedical Engineering), Nguyen Tan (undergraduate, Accounting Information Systems), Hildegarde Bell (masters, Biomedical Engineering) & Alvin Lo (undergraduate, Management Information Systems).

MANTIS Medical Imaging (San José State University). Our product is a portable, affordable, and effective near-infrared (NIR) biomedical platform for in vitro and in vivo imaging. Kyle Soder (EL, undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering), Kiranmayee Dhavala(masters, Biotechnology/Business Administration) & Kevin Bruns (undergraduate, Biomedical Engineering).

PD Analytics (Sonoma State University). We are designing a low-cost, easy-to-use product to quantify tremors associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Campbell Smith (EL, undergraduate, Electrical Engineering), Mitchell Hickey (undergraduate, Business Administration/Financial Management), Janene Grippi (undergraduate, Kinesiology) & Luis Reyes (undergraduate, Electrical Engineering).  Special recognition received from evaluation panel.

PolyPotable (Cal Poly Pomona). PolyPotable allows residential customers to recycle grey water to produce potable water for household tasks like irrigation – all in the comfort of their own home. Renee J. Estephan (EL, undergraduate, Biological Sciences), Valentina Truong (undergraduate, Marketing), April Aquino (undergraduate, Animal Science) & Matthew Cui (undergraduate, Civil Engineering).

PolyProbiotic (Cal Poly Pomona). PolyProbiotic is a sustained-release vaginal probiotic device. Taylor Lane (EL, masters, Biological Sciences), Brandon Youra (undergraduate, Business Administration- Marketing Management), Ian Prins (undergraduate, Biological Sciences) & Alberto Rodriguez-Garcia (undergraduate, Finance). Crowd favorite designation from audience at 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium & special recognition received from evaluation panel.

SafeScope (CSU Sacramento). Our product is a wireless modular stethoscope that addresses issues of communicable healthcare. Daniel Forer (EL, undergraduate, Electrical Engineering), Wendy Imbisi (masters, Finance), Prem Bhaskara(undergraduate, Electrical Engineering) & Nick Ngyuen (masters, Marketing). Crowd favorite designation from audience at 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium.

The Statin Research and Support Page (Sonoma State University). We are creating a webpage providing a concise and organized source of research on statin therapy. Brent Barker (EL, undergraduate, Molecular and Cell Biology) & Erin Sandy (undergraduate, Business Administration).

UltraProbe (San Diego State University). Our product is a novel analytical tool that will provide ultrasensitive detection of disease biomarkers. Jean Sebastien Pradel (EL, doctoral candidate, Analytical Chemistry), Himika Rastogi (masters, Business Marketing Systems) & Marcel Hetu (doctoral candidate, Analytical Chemistry).

Waste Water Reclamation and Reuse (Sonoma State University). The goal of our project is to reclaim industrial waste water through three living biological systems that are known to remove biomass, heavy metals and other contaminants from the water for the purpose of agricultural reuse. B. Gabriela Arango (EL, undergraduate, Biological Sciences), Mike Meehan (undergraduate, Business)& Laura Buer (undergraduate, Chemistry and Physics).

Evaluation Panelists: Mark Adams (NorthStar Engineering), Karen Burg (Kansas State University), Anna Christensen (Magnetic Insight Inc.), Jim Cooper (Conscientia Research), Larry Ozeran (Clinical Informatics, Inc.), Steve Karp (BayBio FAST Advisory Program), Cathy Pucher (San Diego State University), Tommy Martindale (San Diego State University), Luanne Meyer (Meyer & Associates Market Research), Nola Masterson (Science Futures Management Company), David Pauling (Sutro BioPharma, Inc.), Manmeet Singh (CSU Sacramento), Sandra Thompson (Slater Hersey & Lieberman LLP). Biographies are available here.

The CSU I-Corps Student Challenge is funded by the National Science Foundation and it builds on CSUPERB’s previous experience hosting the CSUPERB-I2P Challenge (2012-2014). Email csuperb@mail.sdsu.edu or call the program office (619-594-2822) if you have questions about this program.