For the last several years, the Bertarelli Foundation has proudly sponsored Harvard University’s Innovation Lab. More specifically, we have provided the Bertarelli Prize, which is awarded to the winner of the ‘Health & Life Science Track’ in the annual President’s Innovation Challenge.
The Innovation Challenge supports Harvard students on their journey to turn their desire for a better world into a sustainable venture. This year’s finalists responded to the desperate need for innovation within the health and life sciences industry, as well as solve social issues (equitability, sustainability and safety), and also innovate in other areas that transcend the Challenge categories.
This year, more than 200 student teams applied to participate in the Innovation Challenge with the finalists being selected by a committee of more than 150 judges with a wide array of industry experiences.
In March, five finalists were selected for the 2017 Bertarelli Prize:
- Day Zero Diagnostics combines genome sequencing and machine learning to modernise infectious disease diagnosis.
- GEMS Samaritan Stations has developed a smart devices that reduces emergency response time by turning bystanders into first responders when every second counts.
- Jane Diagnostics has produced an innovative, low-cost, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use HPV diagnostic chip for early detection of cervical cancer.
- Nanoshear has created a nanotechnology-based liquid embolic agent for immediate haemorrhage control in vascular injuries and bleeding patients.
- UrSure Inc. prevents HIV by focusing on protecting vulnerable populations from infection.
Given the exceptional quality of all the finalists, it was a very difficult decision for the prize judges to select the winners; ultimately however, UrSure Inc. was awarded the Bertarelli Prize of $75,000 and Jane Diagnostics were awarded the runner-up prize of $25,000.
The team behind UrSure are no strangers to the Bertarelli Prize, having participated in the competition in 2016. In the year which followed, Giffin Daughtridge and Helen Koenig were able to refine both their product and their business plan and ultimately impress the prize judges.
Ernesto Bertarelli commented:
I’d like to congratulate all the finalists and entrants for the Bertarelli Prize. I’m confident that by taking part in the Challenge over the last year, you will have refined your business ideas and embraced the entrepreneurial spirit which is so important if you are to succeed in your ambition.
I’m delighted that Giffin and Helen of UrSure Inc. have been able to develop such an important medical tool which shows great promise in helping to reduce HIV infection. I will watch the development of their company very carefully.
UrSure’s CEO and founder Giffin Daughtridge, commented:
Winning the Bertarelli Prize is an absolute game-changer for us. We had enough funding to get through the next couple of months, but this will help us accelerate our timeline.