BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two teams won more than $35,000 in cash in the
University at Buffalo's Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology
Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC) for their innovative
ideas in nanotechnology and Internet mentoring.
Panasci TEC, now in its eighth year, awards seed money and
business services to the teams that present the best plan for
launch of a viable new business. Nine local ventures have been
launched with first-place prize money since the UB competition
began and most are still in business.
Krishnan Chakravarthy of Williamsville, Darren Leskiw of
Lockport, Indrajit Roy of Amherst and Tom Sass of Cheektowaga won
the $25,000 first prize for their proposed business, NanoAxis, a
nanotechnology company that will design and manufacture specialized
quantum dots for biological applications.
The second-place prize of $10,000 in start-up funding went to
Andrew Broczkowski of Hamburg, Jeffrey Goldberg and Laura Oberg,
both of Williamsville, for their proposal, mentor café, a
Web site and software designed to facilitate a mentorship network
on the Internet.
Quantum dots are nano-sized semiconductor materials that absorb
light, then re-emit the light at a different wavelength creating a
spectrum of colors. The company will specialize in modifying the
surface of their quantum dots for diagnostic imaging and drug
delivery. NanoAxis says that when linked to a therapeutic drug,
their quantum dots will ensure a safe and precise delivery of the
drug to a targeted site.
"Helping high-tech companies like NanoAxis launch and grow in
Western New York is a role UB is uniquely capable of playing in our
region's economy and is exactly why this competition is held each
year," said John M. Thomas, dean of the UB School of
Members of the winning team said UB's Panasci competition
provided them with a framework for asking the tough questions
necessary for success. To create their technology the team worked
closely with UB faculty Paras Prasad, Ph.D., Distinguished
Professor and Capen Chair of Chemistry, and Paul Knight, M.D.,
professor of anesthesiology and microbiology.
"Thanks to the vision and hard work of our team, we are ready to
take the next step in
establishing a high-tech, nanotechnology-based company in
Buffalo," said Sass.
"The competition has opened the door for NanoAxis to interact
with various scientific partners at the University of Buffalo,"
added Chakravarthy. "NanoAxis is going to be the cornerstone of
cutting-edge translational research, providing more selective and
targeted medical therapy."
The first-prize package includes $25,000 in seed funding, one
year of legal services from Jaeckle Fleischmann and Mugel, one year
of accounting services from Bechtel, Kopin & Company PC, and
one year of office space supplied by North Forest Office
The competition is designed to bring students from science and
technology disciplines together with students or recent graduates
from the School of Management to maximize their business and
scientific potential and create viable businesses in Western New
Twelve teams entered this year's competition and five teams of
finalists presented their business plans publicly in the
competition's final round on April 23 in the Jacobs Executive
Other new venture ideas included a company that would provide
contracted pharmaceutical research services, a proposal for a
technology that improves the delivery of distance education and a
virtual marketplace where parking providers can compete in real
time for parking customers.
Serving as judges for the event were Robert H. Fritzinger, CEO,
Zenhire Inc.; Thaddeus H. Grasela Jr., president and CEO, Cognigen
Corp.; James Hengst, president and CEO, ZeptoMetrix; Marnie
LaVigne, director of business development, UB's New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences; Mel
Passarelli, vice president, North American operations, Attunity
Inc.; and Brian Pearson, president, Valuation Advisors LLC.
Panasci TEC was created by the UB School of Management and the
UB Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach,
and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A.
Panasci Jr., UB alumnus and former CEO of Fay's Inc., to facilitate
and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.
The Wall Street Journal ranks the UB School of Management ninth
in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases.
In addition, BusinessWeek ranks the school as one of the country's
top five business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment,
and Forbes cites it as one of the best business schools in the U.S.
for the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. For more
information about the UB School of Management, visit http://mgt.buffalo.edu.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive
campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic
interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and
professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at
Buffalo is a member of the Association of American