Thursday, July 21, 2022

Chemo Care Solutions, a University of Iowa-based small business in the medical device space, won first place and $5,000 at the University Pitch Madness competition July 20 in Chicago.

Founders of Chemo Care are University of Iowa biomedical engineering students Madeleine Humpal-Pash, Garrett Caltrider, Jordan Ewald, and Tiffany Tran. Through Chemo Care, they are creating a device to prevent chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy.

During University Pitch Madness, participating universities from the University of Chicago, DePaul, Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology, Iowa, Marquette, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, and Washington University in St. Louis showcased student entrepreneurs, who pitched their businesses in front of an audience for a chance to win prize money. Each institution sent up to four teams that presented trade-show style; one top-voted team from each school pitched live.

There are 1.9 million people diagnosed with cancer every year and 68% of those, who are receiving chemotherapy, experience nerve damage. Chemo Care’s product is an arm wrap that chemotherapy patients can wear during infusion at the hospital. The device uses a combination of cryo-compression to induce vasoconstriction in the forearms and keep the chemo drugs from pooling in the hands. It prevents nerve damage during chemo treatment for breast, GI tract, and colorectal cancer.

Over the next month, Chemo Care will apply for a provisional patent and test its device with ultrasound. By the end of 2028, Chemo Care hopes to bring its product to market.

Runner-up $1,000 prizes went to University of Iowa competitors Jon Barnes (ARBLU), John Hatfield (Chordaworms), and Sabrina Shaw (Urban Wave Embroidery).

Teams from Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center have enjoyed success at University Pitch Madness. Erica Cole (No Limbits) won in 2019 and Holly Bennett (Sprayer Mods) was runner-up in 2021.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center is the hub for entrepreneurship education and outreach at the University of Iowa.