Congratulations to Ossum Technologies, winners of this year’s $10,000 Y-Prize competition! The team of undergrads proposed a commercial application for Penn’s steerable needle technology that would improve the safety of cerclage wire use in orthopedic fracture fixation.
Orthopedic surgeons often fixate fractures by wrapping stabilizing cerclage wires around the injured bone. The use of these wires is associated with better healing and improved patient outcomes. However, these results come at a cost. Cerclage wire procedures require large incisions, longer healing time, and present a serious risk of damage to nerves and arteries.
Ossum’s device aims to change that. Their steerable needle, the OsPass, allows surgeons to steer around the patient’s bone in order to place the cerclage wire in a minimally invasive fashion. The OsPass’ small size and greater precision allow surgeons to accurately place wires with less damage to soft tissue and the surrounding nerves and arteries.
Team Ossum is Ananya Dewan (Vagelos LSM), Hoang Le (Vagelos LSM), Shiva Teerdhala (Vagelos LSM), Karan Shah (SEAS), and Savan Patel (M&T). They were declared the competition winner at the Y-Prize’s Grand Finale, after presenting their business plan and fielding questions from a panel of expert judges from academia and industry. Watch their five-minute pitch video here.
The other 2022 finalists were AccuSpark (who used the steerable needle technology to improve Deep Brain Stimulation therapy for Parkinson’s patients), Gliomab Bioventures (who proposed a chemotherapy injection for glioblastoma patients) and Steed (who suggested an application to make breast biopsies less painful and damaging).
For ten years, the Y-Prize competition has challenged students to build their entrepreneurial skills. Students team up to create business plans using technology invented at Penn Engineering. The team with the best commercial application wins $10,000 to help make their idea a reality. It is cosponsored by the Mack Institute, Penn Engineering, Venture Lab, and the Penn Center for Innovation.