Editor’s note: The 2012 Fowler Business Concept Challenge is coming up quickly and Opus Magnum will be highlighting a few past winners here over the coming days in hopes of inspiring entries for this year – from both the undergraduate and graduate populations on campus here at UST.
In 2010, husband-and-wife team Michael and Susan Wuollett, ’10 M.B.A. entered their idea for the Styptic Fibrin Bandage (a product that rapidly stops bleeding in minor cuts and other wounds), into the Fowler Business Concept Challenge. They took first place and received so much encouragement from the judges that they decided to pursue the business idea. Two years later, they are ready to bring their RapidClot™ Blood Coagulant Products (under the company name Protégé Biomedical) to market.
In the past year, the Wuolletts received funding from the Norris Institute—allowing them to file full, international patent protection and conduct the first set of animal trials in April. Trial results showed that their product works three times faster than the leading veterinary product and improves healing. Not only did the animal trials prove that their product has the ability to stop bleeding, but when applied to a main artery it stopped major bleeding almost instantly.
This fall, Protégé Biomedical will begin bridge financing—working with local angel investors to raise capital to take their product to market. They will also be hiring two seasoned, strategic business development advisers—one to focus on setting up licensing arrangements in the veterinary market, and the other focusing on the human market.
Since competing in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge in 2010, (when the couple had no intention of acting on the idea outside of the scholarship competition) it has been two full years of pursuing the idea. 2012 has marked some major milestones for the Wuolletts (including the birth of their first child, Jeffrey Steven), the filing of their full patent, conducting animal trials, holding their first advisory board meeting and attending their first industry conference (where Michael gave an 8-minute product pitch).
The Wuolletts credit their affiliation with UST with much of their success. From interested Angel investors to Advisory Board members to a host of helpful mentors and industry contacts—UST connections have paved the path from business concept to medical device company. Susan says, “It’s so exciting to see these advisers give back selflessly…without the help of UST contacts we wouldn’t have know what steps to take, and definitely wouldn’t be where we are today!”