Home » News » Ethics/Regulatory » Worldwide neuro startup challenge crowdsources 72 new contenders competing to launch new startups around unlicensed NIH inventions

Worldwide neuro startup challenge crowdsources 72 new contenders competing to launch new startups around unlicensed NIH inventions

Monday, December 22, 2014

The largest worldwide, open innovation competition to bring promising brain-related inventions to market is crowdsourcing 72 teams participating from 80 universities, research institutes and hospitals.

A total of 436 people are participating on global teams from a vast number of disciplines and organizations including, but not limited to, large pharma, clinical research outsourcing organizations, venture capital and startups.

The National Institutes of Health makes important discoveries that can save lives and has thousands of valuable inventions available for licensing. Unlike universities, hospitals and other research-oriented foundations, federal labs cannot spinout their inventions into startups.  The Neuro Startup Challenge provides a novel platform to allow promising NIH inventions to be systematically commercialized by crowdsourcing teams that could become new startups to take the inventions forward.

The challenge was launched by the Heritage Provider Network (HPN) in collaboration with the NIH and the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) in August 2014. The Neuro Startup Challenge is centered around 16 NIH-conceived and developed inventions. The goal is to create startups based on these commercially viable inventions that include therapeutics, diagnostics, prognostics and medical devices. HPN is providing the funding for the challenge. CAI is orchestrating all elements of the challenge.  

The challenge provided the opportunity for teams of graduate and post-doc level medical, law and MBA students, business consultants, technology transfer specialists, seasoned entrepreneurs and others who can help the success of the team to enter.  The teams are now tasked with creating elevator pitches, strategic business plans and, ultimately, launching startups to develop and commercialize 16 unlicensed, brain-related inventions.  In addition, they will participate in 40 rigorous entrepreneurship and start-up training sessions designed to result in a nine-month startup “fast track” for the winners.     

“We take great pride in launching the Neuro Startup Challenge with the NIH and CAI,” said Dr. Richard Merkin, founder and CEO of HPN.  “We are excited to harness the power of NIH’s innovations and assemble the best minds in the world in an effort to improve the standard of care for brain-related injuries and disorders, as well as improve brain functions. At Heritage we have always believed that prevention is the best cure. We also believe if we as a country could spend less money on providing care after people are sick and more money on finding cures to keep them healthy, we could change the trajectory of health care in the United States.  We hope the new businesses created by the challenge will provide innovative methods for preventing and curing brain disorders.” 

“We all have the common goal of ensuring that discoveries made at NIH are ‘translated’ when the scientific advances have the potential to benefit the public and have been well vetted,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., acting director of the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Rosemarie Truman, founder and CEO of CAI, said, “We are excited by the extremely talented teams we have crowdsourced globally to advance NIH’s promising neuro-related inventions.  Equally exciting is the global ecosystem of judges and advisors that we have galvanized to combat brain-related illnesses. We are thrilled by the opportunity to help accelerate and increase the volume of progress for brain-related health concerns by building on the unique framework pioneered with the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge (BCSC). We have scaled the model we used with the BCSC so that this challenge can serve as a novel pillar and paradigm to institutionalize spinoffs across HHS and other federal labs.”

The new entrants will now work on phase I deliverables: an executive summary and elevator speech. Both will be non-confidential. The elevator speech and executive summaries will be posted on a public voting and crowdsourcing platform; the public can provide constructive feedback and vote Jan. 12-16 at http://www.neurostartupchallenge.org/overview.html.

To learn more about the challenge inventions visit http://www.neurostartupchallenge.org/inventions.html.  

is an accountable care model of healthcare delivery—coordinated, patient-doctor centric, integrated healthcare systems. HPN and its affiliates operate in California, New York and Arizona, providing cost-effective healthcare to over 700,000 individuals.

is a global public-private partnership nonprofit focused on creating a virtuous circle of innovation and driving growth breakthroughs through novel, creative paradigms and models.  CAI’s mission is to accelerate and increase the volume of technology transfer, translational research, commercialization and entrepreneurship in various fields of research, including biomedical research, to make more research available to the world for educational and innovation purposes, improve the economy and impact world health.

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