Biomedical engineering PhD student Saurabh Biswas won $10,000 to help further the commercialization of a colon cancer early-warning technology, taking 1st place in the Idea to Product (or “I2P”) International Competition in early November. Student teams from leading universities in three continents — including top idea-generating students from Stanford, Penn State and Purdue — competed for $25,000 in prizes in the competition, held in Austin on the University of Texas campus.

Past entries in the I2P International have stepped up university patenting efforts, led university technologies to be licensed, and even spawned new companies.

Biswas first championed the colorectal cancer early-detection technique, based on technology from the Texas A&M University System Technology Licensing Office, during the Ideas Challenge organized this spring by Mays’ Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE). He took second place at that event in May, winning $2,000. And with CNVE’s sponsorship and continued guidance, he advanced the technology’s commercialization appeal in Austin.

The technique — with patents pending in the U.S. and Europe — has the potential to identify the altered genes associated with colorectal cancer a decade before cancer strikes.

Biswas’ first-place win at I2P earned him the first-ever A&M spot in UT’s global MOOT CORP Competition, a world-renowned business plan competition in which aspiring entrepreneurs solicit start-up funds from experienced investors. Competitors from schools around the globe come to UT each May to present their business plans to panels of investors. CNVE will help Biswas team up with Mays MBA students, who can address the key business issues in the idea for MOOT CORP.

The student’s success takes the entry from the Ideas Challenge — held every spring and open to any student on the A&M campus — to one of the highest levels in seeking new funding opportunities for a commercially viable technology.

“Saurabh is an outstanding student, a business-savvy researcher and a great presenter,” CNVE Director Richard Scruggs said. “We are happy to have sponsored him and are looking forward to helping him with the MOOT CORP competition.”