A world-wide competition to bring emerging breast cancer technologies to market is being launched by the Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the NIH, and the Center for Advancing Innovation. The Avon Foundation will fund $250,000 in grants to launch the Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge aimed at teams of business, legal, medical/scientific, engineering, and computer science students, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs.
The challenge will offer teams the opportunity to create strategic business plans and the potential to start new companies based on the development of 10 unlicensed breast cancer inventions by turning them into commercially marketed products. Breast cancer inventions include therapeutics, diagnostics, prognostics, one device, one vaccine, and a health IT invention, all from the NCI intramural program and Avon Foundation-funded university labs. The challenge will include up to 100 teams—10 teams for each of the 10 inventions— to compete. Each student team will be paired with entrepreneur-mentors to assist in the development of the business plans.
"The Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge is designed to accelerate and increase the volume of breast cancer inventions in development," said Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade. "In addition to improving public health, we hope to spur economic growth and provide universities a platform to develop their entrepreneurship-learning portfolios."
The challenge will begin on Oct. 1, 2013, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a call to universities to establish challenge teams. Teams accepted into the competition will have until January 2014 to submit a business plan for judging. Selected finalists will receive an award of $5,000 and will present a comprehensive business plan. Winning start-ups will be recognized in June 2014. It is anticipated that up to 30 successful start-ups will apply and be awarded funding from venture and other sources, which could range from $100,000 to over 1 million dollars.
Judges for this contest include: