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Pharmaceutical Development Project Wins Holloway Prize Competition

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
May 21, 2008

Team Glycura won the UNH Holloway Prize Competition. Pictured from left to right: Michael Merenda, professor and chair of the marketing and management departments; Dan Innis, dean of the Whittemore School; Anna Boisvert, Gregory Richardson and Sebastian Titz, members of Team Glycura; President Mark Huddleston; Paul Holloway; and Bud Albin.

A team of students whose business plan proposes using a sophisticated software program to speed the development of pharmaceuticals won the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics Paul J. Holloway Prize Competition held Wednesday, May 14, 2008.

Team Glycura took home $10,000 in prize money from the business plan competition, which is the oldest business plan competition in the nation at a public university and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“I am inspired to see so many of our students applying what they’ve learned with such skill and poise. It’s likely that one day, in the not too distant future, one or more of the plans presented in this competition will be the next big success story in the local – or even the national – business community,” said President Mark Huddleston.

The winning team members are Anna Boisvert, a graduating senior from Lee; Gregory Richardson, a graduating senior from Manchester; and Sebastian Titz, a graduating MBA student from Italy. The team partnered with the UNH Glycomics Center and its director, Vernon Reinhold, to develop a business plan for Glycura, which the center has been developing for more than a decade. The team was advised by A.R. “Venky” Venkatachalam, professor of information systems and director of the Enterprise Integration Research Center.

Glycura is a sophisticated, analytical system enhanced with software. Its function is to determine the carbohydrate sequence and structure found in glycoproteins. Glycura would perform a more detailed analysis of glycoproteins at a significantly faster rate than current technology allows, and has the capability to aid in the analysis and evaluation of drug production consistency in R&D and manufacturing.

"The Holloway Competition was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. The preparation, the feedback, and the relationships that I built will stay with me for the rest of my life. In all honesty, winning was secondary to the experience that I had, and all teams should genuinely value the time, effort, and support that went into making each one of these projects a true success," Richardson said.

Boisvert encouraged students to consider competing in the competition.

“Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of participating in the Holloway Competition has been being able to experience the wonderful presentations the other teams created. I was truly impressed with the quality of the presentations and the degree of innovation of the products,” she said.

Second place went to chemist Ming Cao, a second-year master’s student in materials science from Shanghai, for his project “Novel Superabsorbent from Renewable Resource.” Third place went to Energy Portfolio Solutions, a team of part-time MBA students that proposed a software system to help utility companies and energy marketers select an optimal portfolio of energy resources from available resources. Energy Portfolio Solutions consists of Amit Savant of Concord, John Dow of Bedford, Padmabala Venugopal of North Andover, Mass., Thandapani Palanichamy of Bedford.

Huddleston thanked Paul and Anna Grace Holloway for their long-time support of the Whittemore School and UNH.

“For 20 years, Paul and Anna Grace Holloway have championed this storied competition. The Holloway Prize means so much to our students, our faculty, our alumni, and our friends. Paul and Anna Grace’s support has given us the opportunity to celebrate our academic excellence in a unique and compelling way,” Huddleston said.

The Holloway Prize Competition is designed to stimulate entrepreneurship throughout the campus. Open to all UNH graduate and undergraduate students who have a plan for bringing an innovative product or service to market, the competition helps students to gain first-hand experience in commercializing new products and services, provides access to faculty advisors and industry experts, and gives students the chance to win up to $10,000 in seed money.

“The UNH Whittemore School was one of the first business schools in the United States to recognize the difference between small business management and entrepreneurship. We offered our first course in entrepreneurial management in the late sixties, and host the oldest business plan competition in the nation at a public university. I would like to congratulate every student, advisor, and judge involved in this year’s historic 20th anniversary competition,” said Dan Innis, dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics.

Established in 1988 by the Holloway family, the business plan competition honors the business leader's entrepreneurial spirit by stimulating and recognizing outstanding business plans. Holloway began his career in the automotive industry and starting in 1967, shaped a multi-franchise dealership emphasizing customer service and satisfaction. Holloway then extended his business skills to the development and management of eldercare facilities.

His strong commitment to public service has led to contributions as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University System of New Hampshire, the board of Berwick Academy, fund-raising programs for Temple University in Pennsylvania and The Governor's Academy in Massachusetts in addition to involvement with other nonprofit organizations and charitable programs.


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