NIH announces winning teams of Neuro Startup Challenge to commercialize its inventions

This device, which simulates the impact of brain trauma from explosive blast-induced traumatic brain injury, will be commercialized by the winning team from the University of Pennsylvania.--Courtesy of Neuro Startup Challenge (click to enlarge)

The National Institutes of Health announced the 16 winning teams of the Neuro Startup Challenge. They were chosen to commercialize its unlicensed technologies to improve brain health.

Unlike most business competitions, this one started with the inventions already in hand, provided by NIH researchers. "We turned the challenge model on its head," said Rosemarie Truman, the CEO of one of the event's collaborators, the Center for Advancing Innovation, in a previous interview. "In this case you're not going to come up with the idea. We have the ideas."

Through the winning teams, NIH aims to overcome some of the challenges facing the commercialization of federal innovations and inventions, like rules and regulations that make it difficult for them to spin off their inventions and form startups.

The winners from schools like Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Pennsylvania and the Medical College of Wisconsin will spearhead the commercialization of new devices that help treat explosive blast-induction traumatic brain injury for stroke, diagnostics for brain cancer, improvements to MRI imaging, and therapies for conditions like cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer's disease.

Launched in August 2014, the competition featured 578 students from 70 teams. All participants benefited from the program's entrepreneurship and business training.

"Today, progress in brain-related illnesses depends on new ways to rapidly advance medical inventions so that patients suffering from devastating brain diseases have greater options," Truman said in a statement. "Thanks to the very generous funding support of HPN (the Heritage Provider Network, another collaborator) and the inventions developed by the NIH, CAI has had the opportunity to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs to develop and commercialize these inventions that hold the greatest promise."

The Neuro Startup Challenge builds on the White House's BRAIN Initiative, which awarded grants last year to various projects worth a combined $46 million.

- read the release

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