By HSC Newsroom

Pitch Perfect

UNM BioVenture Partnership Event Highlights Promising New Research and Biotech Companies Making an Impact on New Mexico Health Care

The University of New Mexico Clinical & Translational Science Center (CTSC) hosted the fourth annual CTSC BioVenture Partnership Event on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, spotlighting cutting-edge research and technologies from UNM researchers and local life science companies.

Researchers, companies, students and investors came together for an afternoon of exploring health-related innovations, research and emerging bioscience companies. The event included guest speakers, poster presentations and a pitch competition.

Guest speaker Karin Westlund High, PhD, professor in the UNM Department of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine, was the 2021 CTSC BioVenture Pitch Award winner for her work addressing chronic pain and the opioid epidemic with a promising non-opioid therapy.

She continued advancing her technology in 2022, earning an Innovation GAP award from UNM Rainforest Innovations and winning the Therapeutics Division of the 2022 EQUALIZE pitch competition for academic women entrepreneurs sponsored by Washington University’s Office of Technology Management.

This year, three outstanding UNM investigators were selected to “pitch” their health care-focused innovations: 

  • presented promising research involving a collaborative group of graduate students pursuing Preventing oral disease with nanoparticles.

  • Sang Eon Han, PhD, associate professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering, presented cutting-edge research on Masking Material to Increase Virus Capture and Wear-Comfort.

  • Michelle Ozbun, PhD, The Maralyn S. Budke Endowed Professor of Viral Oncology at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, presented Topical MEK Inhibitors for Treating Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-Induced Warts & Pre-Cancers. 
Michelle Ozbun

Ozbun’s research was selected as the winning pitch by judges John Chavez, managing director of the New Mexico Start Up Factory, Sara McKenzie, PhD, MBA, from PharmaDirections, Stuart Rose, PhD, of the New Mexico Bioscience Center and venture partner with Tramway Venture, and Trish Lopez, founder and CEO of Teeniors. 

Graduate student Andoza Jamus won the “People’s Choice” award for best scientific poster on research for vaccines against chlamydia trachomatis. 

“BioVenture is about fostering relationships in our local life sciences community, connecting people with resources and learning about academic innovation and early-stage product development,” said BioVenture Committee chair Eric Prossnitz, PhD, distinguished professor of Internal Medicine and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine.

The BioVenture pitch participants gained real-world experience attracting investor support, refining their presentation skills and garnering critical feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their innovations and pitches.

The Pitch Award, Poster Award and door prizes were donated by event sponsors Blissful Spirits Hot Yoga, Explora Museum, Albuquerque Isotopes, Embassy Suites by Hilton, UNM Bookstore, Electric Playhouse, Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc, Albuquerque Museum Foundation, New Mexico United, Sandia Peak Tramway & Ski Area, New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation and Rebel Donut.

Categories: News You Can Use, Research, School of Medicine, Top Stories