Medical device maker wins top prize in Business Model Competition

Tulane Business Model Competition

Medical device maker Kaleyedos, represented by Sami Messai, center left, and Erica Schwarz, center right, receive the Tulane Business Model Competition’s first-place prize from Sherif Ebrahim, left, and Stephanie Kleehammer, right, of the Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

A team of students from Johns Hopkins University with a device to improve the treatment of a potentially blinding infant eye disease won first place and the top prize of $25,000 in the 2017 Tulane Business Model Competition.

The final round of the competition, an annual presentation of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, took place on April 20 at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. The winners were announced that evening at the Lepage Center’s annual awards gala at the Audubon Tea Room.Kaleyedos, the Johns Hopkins-based startup, won this year’s competition on the strength of the Kaleyedos Imaging Device, which enables pediatric ophthalmologists to remotely screen for retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disorder that affects up to 70 percent of premature infants and is the leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide.

While neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) are required to screen premature infants for the disease, the relative scarcity of pediatric ophthalmologists makes the process expensive and time consuming. With the Kaleyedos Imaging Device, hospital personnel can scan the infant’s eyes and upload images to the cloud, where certified ophthalmologists can instantly access the images and offer a remote diagnosis.

“Their product was the easiest to use, made the most immediate impact and had a social benefit as well,” said Mark Fogelman (BSM ’92), co-owner and principal of Fogelman Properties, who served as one of this year’s judges. “It seems as if they can take advantage of an opportunity in a niche market.” “They saw a need, defined the need really well, and they have a simple solution to the need,” added competition judge Jeff Fox,
chairman and CEO of Harbour Group and a current Tulane parent.

Tulane Business Model Competition Judges

This year’s judges included, standing, left to right, Gary Podell (A&S ’85), Bill Donius (BSM ’81), Mark Fogelman (BSM ’92),
Scott Satterwhite (MBA ’81) and Jeff Fox, and, seated, Albert Lepage (MBA ’71), left, and Wayne Teetsel (A&S ’87, MBA ’90).

“I think the business can work.” This year’s finalists were among the strongest in the competition’s history. Runner-up Instapath Bioptics, led by Tulane students Peter Lawson, David Tulman and Mei Wang, went on to win the $30,000 grand prize in the International Business Model Competition, which took place in Mountain View, California, on May 11-12. Instapath won the competition with their own imaging device, which enables centralized remote pathology evaluation to improve the efficiency
of biopsy procedures.

Tulane Business Model Competition third-place finisher CMDX Biopsy, founded by Tulane students Sydney Chestler, Ryan Fishel, Ben Lewson and Perri Levine, also did well at the international competition, earning a spot in its semifinal round.

“Not only did Tulane take home the grand prize in the International Business Model Competition and place two teams in the semifinals, but all three finalists from the Tulane Business Model Competition advanced in the competition,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “I think that speaks volumes about the
entrepreneurial talent here at Tulane and the outstanding quality of the Tulane Business Model Competition.”

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