Bentley, Kofinas Teams Are $75K Competition Finalists

Startup companies proposed by groups led by Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) professors William Bentley and Peter Kofinas are finalists in this year's $75K Business Plan Competition. The teams are competing against each other in the competition's biotechnology category.

Callinix provides a microfluidic, drug-screening test bed using proprietary technology to bind cells and commercially relevant biological components, providing a cheaper and faster alternative to traditional well-plate methods. The Callinix test bed addresses a critical problem in the current drug discovery process, namely the large number of formulations that must be screened in order to produce a commercial pharmaceutical drug. Rapid and efficient screening of the potential drug chemistries on the Callinix test bed in a manner that mimics the in vivo real-world application produces drug candidates better suited to secure FDA approval, thereby increasing the return-on-investment of pharmaceutical companies.

The members of the Callinix team are Varnika Roy, graduate research assistant, molecular and cell biology; Dean Berlin, graduate research assistant, BioE; Amin Zargar, operations manager, McMaster-Carr; and William Bentley, Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Professor and Chair, BioE.

Haemechanics has developed the first and only synthetic hemostatic material capable of simultaneously inducing blood clotting and delivering therapeutics. The material is able to induce clotting as effectively as biologically based products at a fraction of the price.

The members of the Haemechanics team are Brendan Casey, graduate research assistant, BioE; Adam Behrens, undergraduate research assistant, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Peter Kofinas, Keystone Professor, BioE; and Bartley Griffith, professor of surgery, chief, division of cardiac surgery, and director, heart and lung transplantation, University of Maryland Medical Center.

Last year, Intelligent Packaging Systems, a startup created by Kofinas and graduate student and Fischell Fellow Dan Janiak, took first place in the Faculty and Graduate Student Division of the competition.

The U-Md. $75K Business Plan Competition (formerly the $50K BCP), run by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute, promotes the commercialization of innovative ideas and University-created technologies by offering faculty, students, and alumni prizes for the best new venture plans. The competition emphasizes learning by offering one-to-one coaching for finalists, as well as the experience of presenting ideas to an experienced panel of judges. Companies active in the Competition have generated millions in revenues, grants and awards.

For More Information:

Visit the $75K Business Plan Competition web site »
Visit Professor William Bentley's web site »
Visit Professor Kofinas' homepage »

Published April 9, 2009