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Natalie Dana (left), Eric Dierson (middle) and Christopher Lee (right) explain SpherIngenics' stem-cell delivery technology at the Product Showcase of the 2011 Business Plan Competition.
Natalie Dana (left), Eric Dierson (middle) and Christopher Lee (right) explain SpherIngenics' stem-cell delivery technology at the Product Showcase of the 2011 Business Plan Competition.

TI:GER® team SpherIngenics won third place in the 2011 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition.

TI:GER® (Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results) team SpherIngenics won third place in the 2011 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition for its plan to develop a platform microbead technology for the delivery of cell-based therapies that is safer, more efficient and cost effective than current treatments on the market.

Current cell-based therapies have been a growing treatment option because they can potentially replace diseased or damaged tissue in the body. However, these products have yet to reach their full capabilities because almost all cells are lost shortly after delivery. 

Christopher Lee, who is developing this patent-pending technology during his doctoral studies in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, explained, "SpherIngenics' microbead products provide a solution to this problem by improving cell longevity, reducing cell migration, and enhancing cell functionality, which subsequently reduces the need for repeated procedures."

The development of SpherIngenics' technology has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the Georgia Research Alliance's Venture Lab program, and the Coulter Foundation.

Other members of the SpherIngenics team are: Chris Palazzola and Eric Diersen, both Georgia Tech MBA students, and Bryan Stewart and Natalie Dana, Emory University law students. These students all participate in TI:GER, a collaboration between Georgia Tech and Emory Law School that brings together science and engineering PhD, MBA, and law students to work on commercializing innovative technologies.

Georgia Tech's business plan competition attracted 30 teams from across Georgia Tech's campus. The competition, while largely an education experience, provides students an opportunity to develop their venture ideas and present them to a panel of highly experienced judges in the venture capital, technology transfer, and legal fields. 

Of the thirty teams that entered the competition, four were teams spawned in the TI:GER program. One TI:GER team, EthoSense, won a $500 Alumni Innovation Award for a sensor system that detects VOC contaminates in municipal water treatment plants. Secure InfoShare, which is developing security software in partnership with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University for use in the electronic medical records market, has been selected to compete next month in the business plan competition at Rice University.

Former TI:GER teams have placed highly in Georgia Tech's annual Business Plan competition, and several are ongoing startup entities. These winners include 2008 AccelerEyes http://www.accelereyes.com, 2009 Syzygy Memory Plastics (www.thesyzygy.com), and 2010 AlpZhi (www.alpzhi.com). 

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Susan Ambrosetti
Director of Marketing & Communications