WD Armstrong Scholar and CEB PhD student Theresa Maier (BioScience Engineering Group) was recently chosen from over 900 applicants through a multi-stage selection process to participate in Merck’s Biopharma Innovation Cup, the most prestigious pharma competition globally. From 3-8 July 2016, Theresa joined a selected group of 30 PhD students, MBAs and Postdocs, studying at some of the most prestigious universities worldwide. In a 5-member team, the participants - coached by an experienced Merck researcher - generated new ideas in the areas of Oncology, Immuno-Oncology, Autoimmune Diseases, Chemo- and Bioengineering, Emerging Markets and Global Health.
The Innovation Cup highlights Merck’s commitment to developing the next generation of biopharmaceutical talents who have the drive to innovate and think beyond known concepts in medical science, diagnostics and therapeutics.
"The Merck Innovation Cup has been a unique experience, and an unparalleled opportunity to engage with students from all over the world, as well as with outstanding leaders in the pharmaceutical industry."
Theresa’s team, consisting of Chetan Rathi (PhD, University of Tennessee), Erica Namigai (PhD, University of Oxford), Jennifer Beveridge (PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology), Joh Tycko (PhD, Stanford University) and their coach Gabriele Disselhoff inspired the audience comprising of Merck managers and external experts with their novel approach to controlling schistosomiasis transmission. As the winner of this year’s Merck Innovation Cup, the team was awarded 20,000€ and the opportunity to pursue their innovative idea supported by Merck.
"It was such a privilege to be standing on stage advocating for the need of initiative and innovation in Global Health. We are so grateful for the opportunity to support Merck’s Global Health team in their endeavour to fighting a neglected tropical disease globally, and thereby, directing more visibility to a pharmaceutical area in which innovation is urgently needed. We are so humbled to have received this award, and are incredibly excited to be able to work with Merck’s Global Health team on making our proposal a reality!"
Team Global Health and supporters.
In the back row (from left to right): Ulrich Betz (Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Incubator, Founder and Manager of the Innovation Cup), Jutta Reinhard-Rupp (Head of Translational Innovation Platform Global Health), Josh Tycko (PhD, Stanford University).
In the front row (from left to right): Chetan Rathi (PhD, University of Tennessee), Erica Namigai (PhD, University of Oxford), Belén Garijo (Member of the Merck Executive Board, CEO Healthcare), Theresa Maier (PhD, University of Cambridge), Jennifer Beveridge (PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology), and Gabriele Disselhoff (Coach for Team Global Health).