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M2D2 Seeks Innovators For $200K Challenge

The M2D2 Center is a joint venture of UMass Medical School in Worcester, which provides medical expertise and assistance with clinical trials, and UMass Lowell.

LOWELL, Mass. – The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is kicking off its annual M2D2 $200K Challenge, an international pitch competition that showcases and provides support for the innovative ideas of early-stage medical device, diagnostic and biotech companies.

M2D2 assists entrepreneurs in these sectors with all aspects of moving new products and technologies from concept to commercialization. The center is a joint venture of UMass Medical School in Worcester, which provides medical expertise and assistance with clinical trials, and UMass Lowell, which offers expertise with the engineering and business side of product development and commercialization.

Applications are now open for the M2D2 $200K Challenge, which offers assistance to medical device and biotech entrepreneurs whose winning inventions capture the imagination of a panel of expert judges.  
“The contest is a great opportunity for early-stage life science startups to promote their technologies on a global stage. Judges and sponsors are drawn from premier biotech and medical-device companies. Beyond exposure, the winning startups gain access to state-of-the-art laboratories, equipment and consulting services,” said Steven Tello, UMass Lowell’s vice provost of graduate and professional studies. A member of M2D2’s executive board, Tello is a key leader behind UMass Lowell’s many entrepreneurship initiatives, which assist the university’s students and startups around the world.

Since it was founded in 2007, M2D2 – which operates business incubators in Lowell and Worcester and offers networking opportunities and other programs for startups – has worked with more than 100 client companies, which in turn have secured more than $50 million in external funding for their ventures.

Many of those companies have been competition winners, as the challenge typically fields more than 100 entries each spring. This year, 15 finalists will be selected to pitch their inventions to the judges. Entrepreneurs interested in applying to compete may do so at The entry deadline is Sunday, Feb. 16.  

“Now in its ninth year, the competition remains as fresh and exciting as ever. It’s amazing to learn about groundbreaking ideas to improve patients’ health and then help make these emerging products and technologies take shape,” said Mary Ann Picard, M2D2’s director of operations.

The value of the competition’s prizes has grown over the years as the contest has evolved. Winners will share $200,000 in in-kind services and will have the opportunity to use M2D2 facilities including lab and meeting space, as well as engineering, product development, legal, regulatory, clinical and business services.

This year’s sponsors include Amgen, Argenta Advisors LLC, Asahi-Intecc USA Medical, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, MPR Associates Inc., Mintz, Omni Components Corp., RQMIS and Sarepta Therapeutics.

“In support of Amgen’s mission to serve patients, we are excited to once again collaborate with M2D2 on the annual $200K Challenge to identify promising new science and technologies that address unmet clinical needs,” said Amgen Senior Manager Dan Groszmann.

Previous winners include Versatope, which is developing a universal flu vaccine; EnLiSense, a startup working to produce portable and wearable diagnostic devices; and LaunchPad Medical LLC, which is pioneering an injectable adhesive to repair bones.

“Being a competition winner gave LaunchPad Medical a real boost. Immediately, we were able to gain exposure, which really helped, as we were able to raise investment from angel investors. Then, we moved into M2D2 and began to realize the wonderful environment of the incubator space and the UMass system,” said LaunchPad Medical CEO Brian Hess.

Finalists in the contest will be selected in early March and will compete before a panel of expert judges at UMass Lowell on Wednesday, March 25. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 7. Full details on the competition are available at

About M2D2
M2D2, the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, is a joint initiative of the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the UMass system. Its aim is to help new biotech and medical device entrepreneurs develop technologies every step of the way, from proof-of-concept to commercialization. Affiliated faculty and staff have assisted more than 100 startup companies and entrepreneurs since the program kicked off in the spring of 2007.

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