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Pitt Innovation Challenge Awards $375,000 to Move New Ideas Forward

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20, 2015 – Three projects that aim to solve health issues across the lifespan were each awarded $100,000 prizes in the third Pitt Innovation Challenge (PInCh™). Three other projects received $25,000 awards during the live judging event at the University Club in Oakland.
PInCh is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Office of the Provost and the Innovation Institute. During the first phase of the competition, which began in May, 46 teams submitted a video entry to answer the question, “How can health be enhanced by bridging factors that impact life stages?” Sixteen teams were then asked to provide a written description of their projects, and finalists were chosen to present during the showcase. Six teams competed in the $100,000 category, and seven teams competed in the $25,000 category.
“PInCh invites some of the best and brightest entrepreneurial minds in Pittsburgh to present their ideas for innovation,” said CTSI director Steven E. Reis, M.D., associate vice chancellor for clinical research, Health Sciences, and professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “This competition gives them the boost they need to implement their projects and make true advancements in health care.”
In addition to the award funding, the winners will get the assistance of a project manager to begin implementing their ideas.
$100,000 awards:
  • Phoenix – A man-made prosthetic blood vessel is gradually replaced by human tissue as it degrades in the body.  An off‐the‐shelf product, the graft could be used in dialysis patients and for other conditions in which a replacement blood vessel is needed.
  • OXI-Dent – A coating developed to solve the problem of dental implant inflammation.
  • NEATCAP – A hearing protection device for babies in neonatal intensive care units that blocks noxious noise and promises to reduce infant stress, improve sleep and promote brain development.
$25,000 awards:
  • Feet for Life – A project that uses a patient’s own fat to cushion painful feet so they can walk for a lifetime with less pain and suffering.
  • PIVOT – A technology used to evaluate knee ligamentous injuries. A positive test indicates knee joint instability and is associated with future development of osteoarthritis in these patients.
  • Working Together for Kids: A Community Solution – A community training to teach senior citizens, adults and teens how to provide young children in underserved communities with critical skills for school success, and to assess health benefits to all involved.
Finalist and semi-finalist videos can be viewed on the PInCh website

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