The Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies announced the winners of the McCloskey Business Plan Competition and the Social Venture Competition following final-round judging on April 22 and 23 at the Mendoza College of Business.
Eptics LLC received second place in the McCloskey competition. Team members included Notre Dame seniors Tyler Hulett and Michael Dean, and Notre Dame alumnus Norbert L. Wiech. Using a patented technology, Eptics LLC plans to develop and commercialize Progenitex™, a laboratory process that rapidly expands progenitor bone marrow cells collected from umbilical cord blood. The expansion results in a more clinically effective transplantation for adult cancer patients with a reduction in adverse events common to the procedure. Progenitex™ will provide a treatment for many of the 10,000 adults for whom traditional matched donor cells cannot be found in time to be most effective. Progenitex™ meets the requirements of an “orphan drug” classification and will be entitled to the business benefits of the Orphan Drug Act.
Eptics LLC was also honored by receiving the PaceGlobal People’s Choice Best Presentation Award. This award is determined by audience vote for best presentation at the final event.
Eptics, LLC is a privately held biopharmaceutical company formed to identify opportunities to develop epigenetic-based therapeutics for unmet medical needs. Many of these needs are for rare, life-threatening diseases, commonly referred to as "orphan diseases." The Company relies on the business and scientific experience of its CEO and its close relationship to the Drug Development group in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame. The Notre Dame technology provides small molecules, which have been shown to regulate gene expression and can aid in treating genetic diseases.
The company’s first product, Progenitex, is a treatment kit consisting of six substances with specific recognized activities in the facilitation of bone marrow cell growth. This strategy is recognized and desired by clinical transplanters. Progenitex expands cells derived form umbilical cords, which are easier to match but do not contain enough cells for an adult transplant alone. By providing enough cells, Progenitex, will enable 1,000s of adults to receive effective and improved BMT’s.
Eptics aims for Progenitex to be of recurrent use to its customer base of 166 bone marrow transplant capable hospitals and centers in the United States1. Additionally, bone marrow transplantation is recognized by the FDA as a rare disease and offers the Company all benefits the law intended so as to encourage commercial development under Orphan Drug Designation. This includes tax benefits and improved speed to market.
The long-term objective of the company will be the development of a facility or facilities to provide bone marrow cell expansion as a service to all 166 transplant hospitals.