Science and Business Students Win Top Prize at Biotechnology Case Competition

March 14, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — A team of graduate students from the McCombs School of Business and the College of Natural Sciences won top prize last month at the Wake Forest University Biotechnology Conference and Case Competition.

The competition asked each team to develop a corporate strategy for Targacept, Inc., a mid-size pharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs for the treatment of multiple diseases and disorders of the nervous system.

In winning the $10,000 first prize, the four-person team beat out seven other teams, including groups from Duke University, Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The members of the winning team were Brett Newswanger, Michael Manthey and Marco Restrepo from the McCombs School and Jordan Lewandowski from the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology.

"Each of us had a different expertise and provided different angles on how to approach a problem," says Lewandowski, who's a doctoral student in the lab of biologist Steven Vokes. "I learned a lot about the business side and how to materialize research and execute a business strategy."

Since October 2010, teams from the Texas MBA program have been named national champions in four national case competitions: along with the Wake Forest competition, they've won the 2010 GE Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP) Case Competition, the Ross Renewable Energy Case Challenge and the Sixth Annual National Energy Finance Challenge.

The Biotechnology Competition was part of a three-day conference organized to bring together medical, pharmaceutical, natural science, law and business students from across the country.

For more information, contact: Daniel Oppenheimer, Hogg Foundation, 512 745 3353.