Pitch Finalists Selected for 2018 Yale Innovation Summit

By Angela Yoo, Communications Intern, Yale Office of Cooperative Research

Several hundred tech and biotech investors, executives, and entrepreneurs will be gathering again on May 9th for the Yale Innovation Summit, a day-long event showcasing the innovations and startup ideas of entrepreneurial Yale faculty and students.
Nearly 75 teams will be presenting their ideas, but only 16 will have the coveted spots on stage in the Tech and Biotech Innovator Pitchoff contests - a Shark Tank style 5-minute pitch competition judged by dozens of the most preeminent venture capital investors in the country. There is $16,000 of prize money for the top teams, but more important is the valuable exposure to investors and corporate partners.
Last year’s Biotech winner was Alanna Schepartz for her pitch on Exolva, a venture commercializing a cell-permeable miniature proteins that can deliver better medicine.
Last year’s Tech winner was from venture Alva Health pitching a wearable device for early stroke detection by the team of Kevin Sheth, Sandra Saldana-Ortega, Hitten Zaveri, and Ronald Coifman.
This year’s finalists were selected from over 60 applicants and were selected in “semifinal” pitchoffs by a panel of local investors and executives.  
Pacific Oncovirus – Lassa-VSV targets and eliminates brain cancer
Team: Anthony van den Pol
Vittix – Curing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis with thyroid hormone mimetics
Team: Naftali Kaminski, Milica Vukmirovic
NASHTherapeutics – Clinical development of a compound for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, the most common liver disease in the US
Team: Wajahat Mehal
Center Pharm – NCS1 – a new target for Wolfram syndrome
Team: Barbara Ehrlich
Domillin – Keeping the antibiotic miracle alive
Team: Mark Plummer
EvolveImmune – Novel platform technologies and targets for development of new cancer (immuno-) therapies
Team: Sidi Chen, Charles Fuchs
Paci-PHI – Evolution-proof therapy against multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens
Team: Paul Turner, Benjamin Chan
Innatia – RIG-I agonists as next-gen immunotherapies
Team: Anna Pyle, Akiko Iwasaki
PremieBreathe – Low-cost breathing aid for newborns
Team: Anjelica Gonzalez
SOL – The new face of mental health
Team: Nicholas Chedid
HybriTech – Hybrid technologies for cereal crops
Team: Maria Moreno
Proteowise – Rapid, low cost, multiplexed, bench-top proteomics
Team: Erik Gunther, Mikhail Kostylev, Stephen Strittmatter
Expect With Me – Revolutionizing health care by reducing costs and improving outcomes
Team: Jessica Lewis, Jeannette Ickovics
CORISMA – Novel cardiac device bridges critical treatment gap
Team: Jiheum Park, Pramod Bonde
RE3MMUNE – A genetics-free approach to producing potent T cells in a bedside manner for cancer, autoimmunity and infections
Team: Tarek Fahmy
Nth Cycle – Providing a secure supply of rare earth and specialty metals for advanced electronics
Team: Desirée Plata, Megan O’Connor
Rob Bettigole of Elm Street Ventures will moderate the Biotech pitch session and Monica Kolinsky of Wiggin and Dana will moderate the Tech pitch session
Bill Wiesler, Director of New Ventures and the Blavatnik Fund at Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research, spoke on the quality and potential of the Biotech pitch contest. “Now that we have been doing the pitch contests for a few years, we have numerous examples of finalists going on to launch companies and secure millions of dollars in venture financing,” Wiesler said. “The quality of contestants in our Biotech pitch contest gets higher and higher every year, and it’s exciting to think that many of the ideas for companies that are presented on stage on May 9th will be venture-financed companies in the not-too-distant future.”
Richard Andersson, Senior Business Development Associate at OCR, expressed a similar hope for the Tech pitch finalists. “The Tech pitch finalists are likely to turn heads and attract future seed capital. Their pitches and the underlying innovations this year are all potential game changers,” he said.
And even better …  you don’t have to win the pitch contest to find success. 

Take Dr. Elliott Brown as an example. Since presenting as a finalist at the Yale Innovation Summit in 2016, Dr. Elliott Brown, was able to launch Pure Marrow, Inc. which specializes in a novel bone marrow aspiration device that limits blood contamination and maximizes stem cell recovery, and he just received a $500k investment into Pure Marrow this past week. 

Attend the Yale Innovation Summit on May 9th to see which future startup companies are selected as the top 2018 Tech & Biotech innovators. Check out all the innovative research of these and dozens of other Yale entrepreneurs. See this and much more. There is still time to sign up.

The Yale Innovation Summit is May 9, 8:15am-5pm at Evans Hall, 165 Whitney Ave. Hosted by the Yale Office of Cooperative Research, the event connects innovators and investors at Yale through two tracks – biotech and tech, leading keynotes, investor panels, two pitchoffs for cash prizes, a large electronic poster session, and a closing reception at the Yale Peabody Museum. DETAILS & REGISTRATION.

For additional information about the Yale Innovation Summit contact Ann Hollmann, Senior Administrative Assistant, Office of Cooperative Research, (203) 436-8096, ann.hollmann@yale.edu.