The Michelson Grand Prize for the 2009 Wharton Business Plan Competition was awarded to NIR Diagnostics for the creation of Infra Vue, a noninvasive, near-infrared device that measures wound healing and can better predict wound complications.
- Bosun Hau, 2009 Wharton MBA Student
- Pitamber Devgon, 2009 Wharton MBA Student
- Xiaoming Fang, 2009 Wharton MBA Student
- Armen Karamanian, 2009 Penn School of Medicine Ph.D. Candidate
The NIR Diagnostics team created a device, InfraVue, that identifies complex wound healing problems faster and more precisely than other products currently on the market. Evaluating the healing of a complex wound is difficult at best. In fact, NIR Diagnostics’ team leader, Pitamber Devgon, notes that doctors miss opportunities to adjust treatments that would make a difference in patient outcomes about half the time. His team’s product, Infra Vue, is a noninvasive, near-infrared device that measures wound healing and can better predict wound complications.
- The team is driven by an increase in obesity and diabetes, both of which can interfere with healing.
- There is an estimated a $1.1 billion global market for wound assessment.
- While the device would cost $35,000, the team emphasizes that leasing the product to customers will make it more affordable.
- The group has a functional prototype, positive clinical data and no current competitors & support from the device’s inventors.
- Devgon has an internship at Medtronic this summer as well as one more year in Wharton’s MBA program, but said he will be spending his spare time working with the team.
- Plans have been formed for licensing the technology from Drexel University and launching the product this summer in Philadelphia.
- Team members Bosun Hau, Xiaoming Fang and Armen Karamanian are finishing MBA and PhD programs, and are moving ahead to finalize the licensing agreement, expand the number of patients in the human pilot study and pursue seed and early stage funding. The device is in a beta prototype stage, has completed animal testing, and will soon advance to a human pilot study.
And the Winner Is…
In 2009, NIR Diagnostic was given the Michelson Grand Prizeand accompying $20,000 cash prize with an additional $10,000 worth of legal and accounting services at the 2009 Wharton Business Plan Competition. In addition, an audience of hundreds listened to brief elevator pitches from all finalists and chose NIR as the winner of the $3,000 People’s Choice Award.
NIR’s advisors range from the 2001 Wharton BPC grand prize winner to the Chief of Vascular Surgery of Drexel University’s College of Medicine. Also on the team is a past Wharton BPC finalist who was selected to the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, Wharton’s educational incubator.
Armen Karamanian, NIR Diagnostic Team Member:
So if you think of using the analogy of the iceberg—before, physicians were measuring the tip with the ruler. Now [with InfraVue] you can get a sense of how big the iceberg is, what are the healing properties of the different layers of the iceberg.”
- David A. Cohen, PAR’14, PAR’16, PAR’17, CEO, Chief Investment Officer, and Co-founder, Karlin Asset Management, Inc.
- William P. Egan, WG’69, Founder and General Partner at Alta Communications
- Evan Jones, WG’83, Managing Member at jVen Capital, LLC
- David A. Piacquad, WG’84, Senior Vice President at Schering-Plough Corporation
- Fred Wilson, WG’87, Partner at Union Square Venture.
- Note: WG=MBA alum; W=Undergraduate Wharton alum; PAR=Penn parent
- NIR Diagnostics wins Wharton Business Plan Competition [2009-05-05; Penn Current, Office of University of Pennsylvania]
- NIR Diagnostic wins Wharton Business Plan Competition [2009-04-30; Sean Blanda, Technical.ly]
- How to Win a Business Plan Competition [2009-06-10; Lora Kolodny, The New-York Times]
- NIR Diagnostics wins Wharton Business Plan Competition [2009-05-04; Steven Allen, The Daily Pennsylvanian]
- Wharton Now: The Winner Is… [Spring/Summer 2009; Tim Hyland, Wharton Magazine]
- Rowing, Robots and Roommates: And the Best Business Plan Is… [2009-05-13; Knowledge@Wharton, Wharton School]
- NIR: Seeing infrared’s benefits [2009-05-04; Peter Key, Philadelphia Business Journal]