February 14, 2011

BME grad student team scores in business plan competition

A team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering graduate students tied for first place in the 2011 Georgia Bowl Business Plan Competition, hosted Feb. 4 and 5 by Kennesaw State University. Team members presented their business plan for TheraCord, a system that the students developed to improve the process of umbilical cord blood collection. Stem cells preserved from cord blood after live births can be used in the treatment of diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma.

The Johns Hopkins team members—James Waring, Elias Bitar, Chris Chiang, Matthew Means and Sean Monagle—are enrolled in a yearlong master’s degree program offered through the university’s Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design. The program helps students learn to develop biomedical devices and to move these projects into the marketplace.

For the TheraCord project, the team’s clinical sponsor is Edith Gurewitsch, an associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The student inventors, who are continuing to test and refine their system, expect to enter their project in other college business plan competitions in the coming months.