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April 06, 2021 | Tom Ballard

First of BioTN’s 2021 “Scipreneur Challenges” won by Vanderbilt University team

The Nashville Chapter of the BioTN Academic Alliance has announced the winner of the annual “Scipreneur Challenge,” an entrepreneurship-based competition for graduate students, Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral researchers.

The winning team, comprised entirely of Vanderbilt University students, pitched its mock product named “Nanogold DNA Bioconjugates,” which was pitched as an imaging tool for the detection and depletion of faulty genes in various vascular diseases – a feat driven by the technology’s non-toxic nanogold gene silencing agents.

“The level of talent demonstrated in this final pitch competition is exemplary of the exceptional talent Tennessee has in its life sciences and biotech industry,” said BioTN Executive Director Abby Trotter. “The Scipreneur Challenge is a favorite event of the Academic Alliance and an example of BioTN’s commitment to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM and the biosciences in Tennessee. Congratulations to all participants for the remarkable level of effort and work put into each of these business plans.”

A staple event of the Academic Alliance program, the “Scipreneur Challenge” gives students entrepreneurial training to develop business plans for STEM-related technologies generated at the area’s premier research institutions. The “Scipreneur Challenge” is hosted three times each year by the Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville Academic Alliance chapters, showcasing the strength of Tennessee’s STEM and life sciences research. The most event was supported by LaunchTN, an organization committed to providing start-up businesses with the tools and market building resources to launch successfully, and by the Vanderbilt Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, which provides professional commercialization services to the Vanderbilt community.

The Memphis Chapter will host its virtual “Scipreneur Challenge” final pitch competition on April 15. To register for this event, please visit the competition’s Eventbrite page. And, as previously announced by Nate Brady, leader of the Knoxville Chapter, the East Tennessee version will be during Fall Semester.

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