Entrepreneurship Students Head to National Venture Open Competition

Entrepreneurship students in the College of Charleston School of Business are part of just four teams nationwide that will compete in the finals of the Rady School of Management Student Venture Open.  Seniors Darren Boulton and Alex Parker, together with Thomas Beckham and Tucker Marrison, two graduate students from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), will present their business plan for a cancer therapy drug in development by SphingoGene, a company founded by James Norris of MUSC.

The Rady School is part of the University of California at San Diego and holds the Venture Open in conjunction with the meeting of the WBT Innovation Marketplace, a premier high-technology meeting held this year at the San Diego Convention Center. Other finalists in this national competition are from the University of Arizona, the University of Arkansas, and the University of California at San Diego.

The student’s work with SphingoGene is a result of College of Charleston Professor Kelly Shaver’s research in biomedical commercialization. Shaver is one of the founders of the Lowcountry Partnership for Biomedical Innovation, which is funded through a National Science Foundation grant.

Shaver also teaches an upper-level management course on biomedical commercialization, which introduces students to one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy – biotechnology in health-related issues. Through the course, students work directly with Charleston Innovation Center companies on medical commercialization efforts.

About the Lowcountry Partnership for Biomedical Innovation

The overall goal is to apply existing research on entrepreneurial individuals and teams to improve the potential for success of biotechnology start-up companies. This project brings together faculty from three universities, various public economic development entities, a biotechnology incubator facility, and a group of public/private sector partners. The result is a complete program designed to produce sustainable companies whose long-term success will provide good jobs for the future while their product innovations improve the national health and the national well-being.

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