A business founded by a University of Arizona biomedical engineer and entrepreneur has beat out 35 other student-created companies to become a finalist in the 2012 Graduate Student Business Plan Competition.
Xenia Kachur, a UA alumna and CEO of Kulira Technologies, will present her company's business plan to the judges of competition, run by the Licensing Executives Society, Inc. (LES) Foundation. LES is the pre-eminent professional organization in the field of intellectual property transfer and commercialization in the U.S. and Canada.
Kachur has a Master of Science in biomedical engineering from the UA, where she also studied in the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship program at the Eller College of Management. She created the company while a student at the UA in August 2011.
Kulira Technologies was chosen from companies around the world that focus on groundbreaking technologies and strategies on how to commercialize those technologies.
The six finalists will compete in Boston on May 14 for a $10,000 grand prize or the $5,000 LESI Global Award. Runner-up teams will receive $1,000, and all of the teams will select from a valuable pool of in-kind prizes.
Kulira Technologies is an advanced biomedical engineering firm based in Tucson, Ariz. The company's primary focus is the development of its proprietary SliceX Gel Technology, a novel medical process that improves post-operative tissue assessment.
The SliceX Gel Technology solidifies around surgically removed cancer tissue within minutes, giving it stability and structure so the tissue can easily be processed to facilitate fast and accurate analysis.
Ultimately, the company envisions the technology will fulfill needs across industries in applications from materials science to defense.
"This opportunity to compete at the LES meeting is not comparable to any other situation in that we will have access to some of the top licensing and intellectual property experts in the world. This experience has the potential to shape the way that we execute our business plans and lay the foundation for our ventures," said Kachur.
Said Annemarie Meike, 2012 LES foundation competition co-chair: "It's a multifaceted event that allows us to share critical IP and licensing skills, expert feedback and mentorship and industry connections with student entrepreneurs, even in preparation for the first round of judging. The experience ensures that every participant walks away a winner."
The other five finalist teams include:
- Purdue University, U.S.: Medtric Biotech is offering a new class of antimicrobial wound dressings that relies on a physical mechanism (cell level) for eliminating bacteria.
- Swinburne University of Technology, Australia: Relivit is looking to commercialize a new industrial treatment technology to process niche waste streams.
- University of Illinois at Chicago, U.S.: NovoView Diagnostics is developing an innovative method for assessing a patient's risk for ischemic stroke.
- University of Nebraska, U.S.: NeuroNano Pharma is developing and commercializing breakthroughs in nanotherapeutics for degenerative, inflammatory and infectious diseases.
- University of New South Wales, Australia: Pluvision is aiming to commercialize intellectual property for the development of novel and long-lasting eye drops for the treatment of dry eye.