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Wistar’s Shark Tank Pitch Competition Goes Swimmingly

May 4, 2022

The hybrid event marked the conclusion of the Institute’s Life Science Innovation Course that provides experience in biotechnology entrepreneurship.

Students enrolled in The Wistar Institute’s Life Science Innovation course entered the shark tank. They shrugged off nerves, put their best selves forward, and made mock business pitches to a panel of expert biotechnology investors. The students had been preparing their pitch in teams based off technology leveraging Wistar intellectual property and interacted with inventor scientists and industry experts to design solutions to development and commercialization issues.

The competition included pitches from Wistar predoctoral students, Wistar postdocs, Wi-Star interns, and undergraduate students from Cheyney University and La Salle University. Pitch topics covered unique biotechnology and scientific discoveries with clinical potential such as HIV and pregnancy biomarkers and diagnostic testing for ovarian cancer and COVID-19.

The panel of judges included Anthony Green, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Donna Cordner, cofounder and managing partner of OKM Capital; and Tom Penn, partner of MVP Capital Partners. After each pitch, the judges evaluated the teams and discussed detailed breakdowns of investment plans, appropriate funding requests, important legal distinctions around Intellectual Property, and establishing an appropriate market model.

“The Shark Tank event is the culmination of months of effort by teams of undergraduate students and Wistar trainees to develop compelling business strategies for Wistar technologies. By examining the complexity of technology commercialization, participants have expanded their understanding of translational science and will hopefully be inspired to apply an entrepreneurial lens to their own research.” says David Zuzga, Ph.D, associate dean of Biomedical Studies.

A reception followed the competition. Please see the album below for photos of the event. 

Life Sciences Innovation Shark Tank Event 2022