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Northwestern Medical Innovation Team Wins Wharton Club of New York Business Plan Competition

June 18, 2010

A competitive team that grew out of Northwestern's interdisciplinary Medical Innovation course recently took first place at the Wharton Club of New York's Business Plan Competition.

The NUvention Medical Innovation course at Northwestern combines graduate students from Feinberg , Kellogg, McCormick, and the Law School. Students are divided into two teams which meet over two quarters. The goal of the course is to identify an unmet medical need, develop a solution to that need, incorporate as a Delaware corporation, file a provisional patent, create a prototype, and write a business plan.

The winning team from this year, Team UroVention was a made up of Feinberg Students Raj Kurpad and John Nazarian; Kellogg students Phil Herman, Vishal Arya, and Nas Alidu; McCormick students TJ Kim and Evelyn Auyeung; and Law students Jason Chu and Omar Alam and Professor William Sutter of Kellogg who has advised UroVention since the beginning of the Medical Innovation course.

The medical specialty they chose to focus on was Urology and their device is an improved resectoscope, which is used to treat enlarged prostates. Currently, urologists use a bipolar resectoscope, inserted into the patient's urethra, to cut away at the enlarged prostate with an electric current. To control this electric current, the urologist steps on a foot pedal system to cut or clot the tissue.

The team’s device, the NUVI-1 resectoscope, is an ergonomic device that integrates the control of the electric current into the handle of the resectoscope itself, eliminating the need for the cumbersome and outdated foot pedals. The device and prototype were designed with the continued assistance of urologists at Northwestern Memorial.

After presenting a pitch to their Medical Innovation class, faculty, and the course's board of advisors (composed of industry experts and investors), the team decided to enter several business plan competitions, including one at Rice University and one sponsored by the Wharton Club of New York.

As a result, they received funding from Rice University and won first place at the Wharton Club competition. Part of the reward for winning first place includes $10,000 non-equity investment in the company, will ultimately lay the groundwork to move the NUV-1 resetoscope to the next level

“The business plan competitions, as well as our March presentation to the Medical Innovation faculty and board of advisors, have given us the invaluable real-world experience of pitching a company and idea that we developed to a group of industry experts, investors and venture capitalists,” said Alam.

“Overall, the Medical Innovation course provided the very unique opportunity for us to develop, incorporate, and manage a medical device company. It also allowed us to interact with students from other Northwestern graduate schools and utilize their expertise in law, medicine, engineering and management.”

UroVention's next steps include filing a utility patent and finalizing our prototype. The team is also considering applying for grants and entering into other business plan competitions.

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