Extended-release drug delivery platform winner of the 2020 Business Plan Contest

Extended-release drug delivery platform winner of the 2020 Business Plan Contest

A Madison-based “drug delivery” technology platform for extended-release medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction took home the grand prize in the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Jacqueline Hind, Lisa Krugner Higby, Timothy Heath and others created Plumb Pharmaceuticals, which is a platform technology for extended-release medications. The first application of the platform focuses on treatment of opioid addiction.

Like 11 other “Diligent Dozen” finalists, Hind recorded her presentation for judges and others in advance of the annual Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which was held on a virtual platform this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Conventional therapies help suppress cravings by blocking opioid receptors. However, relapse can occur between doses. What Plumb Pharma has done is create a way to help reduce relapses,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Plumb Pharma’s technology can reduce costs for patients and providers alike, with potential to move beyond opioid abuse.”

Independent judges recruited by the Tech Council heard pitches from 11 other finalists in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. Plumb Pharmaceuticals won the Life Sciences category. Other category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: Advanced Ionics, Milwaukee, which is developing hydrogen production systems for industrial consumers that will offer zero-emission, on-site, on-demand hydrogen at a lower cost. Presenter: Chad Mason.

Business Services: Last Lock, Milwaukee, which has designed a self-powering “smart lock” that allows for easy installation into existing door hardware while augmenting any mechanical entry system. Presenter: Jack Ryan.

Information Technology: My GenomeRX, Wisconsin Dells and Palatine, Ill., brings personalized medicine to consumers by providing an online portal that identifies potential gene-drug interactions based on at home genetic tests. Presenter: Annette Gilchrist.

Twelve contestants emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with 200 qualified entries; more than 3,900 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

In addition to submitting 15- to 20-page written plans, finalists taped a seven-minute pitch posted on the BPC website for the judges to view for the 17th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Second- and third-place category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: Agent+ Solutions, Jeffrey Lord, New Berlin; ModuTree, Trevor Santarius, Milwaukee.

Business Services: eCourt Reporters, Karen Renee, Burlington; Safety4Her, Melissa Gaglione, Milwaukee.

Information Technology: IVO Systems, Howard Lien, Madison; Entremere, Thomas Olscheske, Madison.

Life Sciences: OncoGone, Xiaoban Xin, Potomac, Md.,/Madison; Steady Shot, Shawn Michels, Milwaukee.

As a new contestant this year, eCourt Reporters won the “Bright New Idea” award.

The “People’s Choice” awards went to Agent+ Solutions, which has developed a cleaning solution infused with nanoparticles that keep surfaces pathogen-free for several days. More than 650 people voted in that online process.

Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of 90 judges established by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. Each plan described the core product or service, defined the customer base, estimated the size of the market, identified competition, described the management team and provided key financial data.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.4 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.

Additional lead sponsors of the 2020 contest thus far include3Rhino Media; American Transmission Company;  AT&T; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Michael Best; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; StartingBlock; University Research Park; Ward4; 6 AM Marketing;  Associate sponsors include  Aberdean Consulting; Whitewater University Technology Park; Murphy Desmond; Makin’ Hey!; Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are Applied Management; Versiti; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Neider & Boucher; Reverbal Communications; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. 

To learn more about the contest, visit govsbizplancontest.com.