Ishir Seth, Tanvi Kapur, Beatriz Go, WenTao Zhang: Y-Prize

caption:Ishir Seth, Tanvi Kapur, Beatriz Go, and WenTao ZhangIshir Seth (C’20,W’20), Tanvi Kapur (W’19), Beatriz Go (W’19) and WenTao Zhang (C’19,W’19) make up the winning team, Nosoco Technologies, of this year’s Y-Prize. They will receive $10,000 for their plans for a new, improved catheter designed to stop infections at the source. They will also be entered into the semi-final round of the Penn Startup Challenge. The idea was inspired by Mr. Zhang’s grandfather, who died from complications due to a catheter-related infection.

Their plan is to incorporate micro-size crevices into the catheter wall to prevent or disrupt the formation of biofilms, a super-thin slime of bacteria that clings to a surface. Many biofilms are harmless, but when “bad” bacteria band together, it can cause infection. For hospital patients who need a catheter, such infections are a serious problem that costs insurers and hospitals $3.5 billion a year in the United States alone.

The group has worked with researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine and CHOP on their idea, and now with the Y-Prize money, Nosoco will move toward testing the viability of the product. In vivo testing and clinical trials would come next.

The Y-Prize is a collaboration between Penn Engineering, Wharton’s William and Phyllis Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship and the Penn Center for Innovation. Applicants submit a video pitch explaining their idea, why it’s needed and how they plan to make it happen.