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Challenge Seeks Commercialization of Breast Cancer Advances

Pink ribbon breast cancer symbol

(National Cancer Institute)

A new challenge sponsored by the Avon Foundation for Women, with National Cancer Institute and Center for Advancing Innovation, aims to accelerate commercialization of unlicensed research discoveries related to breast cancer. In the Breast Cancer Start-up Challenge, Avon Foundation will award $250,000 to teams starting new companies that combine lab discoveries with solid business plans for products and services to improve the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer.

Teams taking part in the competition need to develop one of 10 research discoveries from the labs of National Cancer Institute, a division of National Institutes of Health, and Avon Foundation researchers. The discoveries include potential therapies, diagnostics, vaccine, medical device, and software.

The challenge aims to recruit 10 teams to develop business plans for technologies that take each of the 10 discoveries to market. The operators of the challenge expect students to make up most of the teams, but the competition is open as well to faculty, alumni, and current entrepreneurs.

From 1 October through 1 November 2013, candidate teams can submit letters of intent, followed by 10-page business plans due by 14 January 2014. Competitors also must prepare a five-minute live pitch and one-minute video “elevator pitch” in the second half of January. Finalists for developing each of the 10 discoveries will be announced by 4 February 2014.

Finalist teams will then refine their business plans and begin the start-up of their new companies. During this phase, the new companies are expected to refine their development, commercialization, and regulatory strategies. Start-up deliverables — seed funding and license applications — are due by 23 May 2014, with the winning enterprises announced on 13 June 2014.

Each of the finalist teams will receive a $5,000 award from Avon Foundation. The winning start-up companies announced in June 2014 are expected to receive financing ranging from $100,000 to $1 million from venture capital and other funding sources.

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