Headlines at Hopkins: news releases from across
university Headlines
News by Topic: news releases organized by
subject News by Topic
News by School: news releases organized by the 
university's 9 schools & divisions News by School
Events Open to the Public (campus-wide) Events Open
to the Public
Blue Jay Sports: Hopkins Athletic Center Blue Jay Sports
Search News Site Search the Site

Contacting the News Staff: directory of
press officers Contacting
News Staff
Receive News Via Email (listservs) Receive News
Via Email
Resources for Journalists Resources for Journalists

Virtually Live@Hopkins: audio and video news Virtually
Hopkins in the News: news clips about Hopkins Hopkins in
the News

Faculty Experts: searchable resource organized
topic Faculty Experts
Faculty and Administrator Photos Faculty and
Faculty with Homepages Faculty with Homepages

JHUNIVERSE Homepage JHUniverse Homepage
Headlines at Hopkins
News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

October 20, 2004
CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman

Biotech Business Plan Wins Top Honor for
Johns Hopkins Students

Biomedical Engineering Scholars Will Go to London
To Represent U.S. and Canada

By preparing a business plan for an imaginary company that could help doctors detect eye diseases before they cause blindness, four biomedical engineering doctoral students from The Johns Hopkins University have won the North American arm of a prominent biotechnology competition based in the United Kingdom.

The students competed against three other finalist teams from universities in the United States and Canada in the Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme, an academic business plan contest designed to raise awareness among postgraduate students and postdoctoral scientists about how to commercialize ideas from the biosciences.

Winning team members in the biotech business plan contest were Blanka Sharma, David Noren, Raymond Cheong and Saurabh Paliwal.
Photo by HPS/Will Kirk

For the event, the students invented a company called Innovative Clinician Unlimited, which would market a medical technology that may become practical in the near future. The team outlined how use of an automated device to image the retina could allow primary care physicians to diagnose potentially blinding diseases before patients lose their sight.

The team recently traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to present its business plan to a panel of judges. During the event, the students also attended workshops led by leading figures in the British biotechnology industry. Their plan was judged against those of teams from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Toronto and the University of California, San Francisco.

As winners of the competition, the Johns Hopkins students took home $1,000 in prize money from the British Council USA, which sponsored and administered the North American initiative. In addition, the students will receive an all-expense-paid trip to London in December to be showcased alongside the final eight competing British teams. The Johns Hopkins students will present their business plan and will be eligible for additional prizes.

Entering the contest proved to be a great learning experience, said David Noren, the Johns Hopkins team captain. "If you're involved in technology-related research, it's often beneficial to consider commercialization, but none of us had any experience in developing a business," Noren said. "During our preparation for this contest, we talked to people at Johns Hopkins who'd had experience in commercializing their research. That was a big help in developing our plan."

Noren, who is from Warwick, R.I., graduated from the University of Rochester before entering the biomedical engineering doctoral program at Johns Hopkins. The other team members were Blanka Sharma of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Ontario; Raymond Cheong, of Columbia, Md., a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and now a student in the Johns Hopkins M.D.-Ph.D. program; and Saurabh Paliwal, of Mumbai, India, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras.

The team formed in the summer after hearing about the competition. All four graduate students are conducting their research at the university's Homewood campus in labs supervised by Andre Levchenko and Jennifer Elisseeff, assistant professors in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Individual and group photos of the students available; contact Phil Sneiderman.

Related Links
Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering
British Council USA

Johns Hopkins University news releases can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/
   Information on automatic e-mail delivery of science and medical news releases is available at the same address.

Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page