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Winners announced for 2018 business plan competition

The winners of the eighth annual UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition were announced April 19, with the first-place $10,000 prize awarded to Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam for her QuickFlow product.

QuickFlow is a novel device that offers several advantages over percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy devices currently on the market, and it provides a higher degree of authority and maneuverability for capturing and removing clots. The prototype device uses a pair of superelastic Nitinol-capturing elements to aid in the collection of a thrombus and minimize distal embolization.

Dr. Sonny Ariss shook hands with Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam to congratulate her for winning $10,000 for her QuickFlow device, which took top honors at this year’s UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition.

“The incidence of pulmonary embolism is estimated to be 650,000 cases per year, and the mortality rate is estimated at approximately 100,000 deaths per year, which makes pulmonary embolism the third most common cause of death for hospitalized patients in the U.S.,” Moghaddam said. “As current treatments specifically for acute massive and submassive pulmonary embolism patients are not effective, we have decided to develop and commercialize QuickFlow PE, a thrombectomy device that addresses the shortcomings of current therapies or surgical procedures and also provides a non-invasive procedure with lower cost solution.

“Our device design and the method of deployment distinguish it from the competition in several ways. ThermoMorph is a startup company established by inventors from The University of Toledo to develop QuickFlow; their device has a smaller profile and can capture and encircle the entire clot for retrieval, the whole clots without distal embolization. We have been working to develop this device since 2015,” Moghaddam said. “The main problem was how to optimize the baskets to maximize its authority to capture the different size of blood clots without shearing off.”

Other UT members of the QuickFlow team are Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Dr. Hamdy Ibrahim and Reza Mehrabi. The co-inventors of the device are Elahinia, Dr. Christopher Cooper and Dr. Rajesh Gupta.

“Our goal is to help increase the number and scale up businesses in Ohio,” Dr. Sonny Ariss, professor and chair of the Department of Management, told the winners. “We are willing to support you, to provide free advice about how to spend, where to spend, and when not to spend. Your prize money is a major leap. Don’t underestimate yourself. Surround yourself with a great advisory board.”

“This year the business plan competition had 22 submissions with plan ideas ranging from bioengineering to mechanical engineering to recreation and consumer-related products,” Ariss added. “Of the 22, seven semifinalists were selected for an oral presentation in front of the judges.”

Finishing in second place was the FIERCE by Tyler Ray, Rebecca Potts, Emily Wallace, Caren Aramouni and Therese Orsagos. FIERCE — the female individual ergonomically re-designed carrying equipment — is a new rucksack intended for female soldiers in all branches of the military. It intends to reduce the weight pot onto the spine and increase the weight on the hips through multiple innovations based on the biomechanics and anatomy of the female.

Finishing in third place was Retractor by Parisa Bayatimalayeri and Ahmadreza Jahadakbar. The rectal retractor is a minimally invasive device to move the rectum away from the vicinity of the radiation field; in addition, the path of the radiation beam allows for delivery of higher doses of radiation per fraction and shorter treatment days while eliminating the undesirable damage to the rectal tissue.

The College of Business and Innovation Business Plan Competition was open to all UT faculty, staff and students. The first-place $10,000 prize is sponsored by Owens-Illinois Inc.; the second-place $5,000 prize is sponsored by Chuck and Ann Hodge Business Plan Competition Fund; and the third-place $2,000 prize is sponsored by PNC Bank.

Winners of this year’s UT College of Business and Innovation’s Business Innovation Competition were, from left, third-place winner, Retractor: Ahmadreza Jahadakbar and Parisa Bayatimalayeri; second-place winner, The FIERCE: Tyler Ray, Rebecca Potts, Emily Wallace, Caren Aramouni and Therese Orsagos; first-place winner, QuickFlow: Narges Shayesteh Moghaddam.