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Capsulomics Receives Top Award at PBC by Techstars Competition
BALTIMORE, Sept. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Capsulomics CEO and co-founder Daniel Lunz presented the company's groundbreaking development: DNA tests for the early detection of esophageal cancer and its precancerous condition, Barrett's esophagus.
The Patriot Boot Camp event was held at MX headquarters in Lehi, Utah. Fifty entrepreneurs were selected to engage with renowned teachers and mentors such as Peter Kight, Founder of CheckFree, Ryan Caldwell, Brandon Dewitt, and Don MacDonald, from MX, among many others. In addition to the boot camp, ten finalists were chosen to present their companies to a panel of investors and successful entrepreneurs, among which Capsulomics was awarded first place.
"I am grateful to have been invited to this event and the opportunity to represent our team in the pitch competition; this award is a testimony to the work Capsulomics is doing to better serve patients through early detection. We know that if the disease is caught early enough, it can often be cured," says Lunz.
More than 500,000 people die from esophageal cancer each year across the world. Esophageal is one of the most lethal cancers in the United States, with five-year survival below 15%. If detected while still precancerous (Barrett's esophagus), this survival increases to 90%; however, most Barrett's esophagus cases remain undiagnosed.
These cases go undiagnosed because the current detection method — upper endoscopy — is invasive, expensive, and inconvenient, so it is often used reactively once symptoms arise, after the condition has advanced to cancer and has become incurable. "Our test is less expensive and less invasive so it can be given as part of routine preventive care, allowing for proactive diagnosis in at-risk patients," says Lunz.
Capsulomics, founded by Mr. Lunz and Dr. Stephen J. Meltzer, has licensed technology developed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The company has been awarded grant funding and is also currently fundraising to bring the test to market.
"Patriot Boot Camp's mission of serving others through entrepreneurship embodies the goals of Capsulomics," said Jen Pilcher, CEO of Patriot Boot Camp, "We believe their combination of innovative technology and drive to create lasting change through early cancer detection will improve patient outcomes."
Patriot Boot Camp (PBC) is a non-profit founded in 2012 to provide active duty service members, veterans, and their spouses with access to mentors, educational programming, and a robust community of experts and peers to help them innovate and build impactful businesses. Patriot Boot Camp is presented by Techstars and includes sponsors USAA, Google for Startups, MX, MetLife Foundation, Jared Polis Foundation, and Microsoft for Startups.
Other companies to pitch included: Personalized military care package platform Troopster; protein cricket snack company CowboyCrickets; physician staffing platform BrightFox; construction aggregate development platform Nautilus Materials; license and education compliance software PIACET; crowdsourced boating community software KnowWake; military transition tech education platform Taylored 2 Code; and sharing economy rental platform Red Bear Rentals.