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David Brophy
  David Brophy

Tradition of Excellence and Spirit of Competition Continues in Two MBA Courses

1/5/2006 --

Real-life deal making is part of the curriculum.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—MBA students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business compete each year for a chance to convince a private equity firm they have uncovered an opportunity that merits a multimillion-dollar investment.

University of Michigan alumnus David Evans, CEO of Glencoe Capital, visits Professor David Brophy's Private Equity Finance class each December to instruct students on what to look for in a prospective target for a private equity buyout. A successful candidate for such a transaction, Brophy says, often is a profitable but stagnant company in which investors can identify a clear path to revitalization—such as the overhaul of inefficient manufacturing processes or the repositioning of an underachieving product.

Student teams identify a company for a public-to-private conversion, compiling a detailed analysis, developing an investment thesis and creating a capital structure for the deal. They submit "pitch books" detailing their proposals and make presentations to a judging panel. The two teams demonstrating the strongest strategic vision then travel to Chicago to deliver presentations to Glencoe Capital's investment board.

The teams also take home scholarship money. The four members of the winning team, as selected by the Glencoe investment board, will receive approximately $1,900 from an annual scholarship established 15 years ago by U-M alumnus Alan Gelband, president of the New York investment-banking firm Alan Gelband Company Inc.

Research Commercialization: Taking Technology From Lab to Market

Promising scientific research and groundbreaking technologies often fail to achieve commercial success because they lack the compelling market strategies needed to secure adequate financing.

Financing Technological Entrepreneurship, a course offered for the second straight year this past fall at the Ross School of Business, provides MBA students and undergrads with the skills needed to avoid common pitfalls on the road from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Under Brophy's instruction, the course combines readings, lectures, presentations by industry leaders and projects that team students with researchers and faculty from Michigan's Medical School, College of Engineering, Office of Technology Transfer and the Kresge Hearing Institute, as well as with the Michigan Research Institute and Michigan State University.

The participating scientists are in the early stages of commercializing research in the life sciences or information technology, and students devise business plans to help them attract financing from angel, seed, venture capital or strategic investors. Below is a list of the student-created companies, the team members and the product they created:

Chelux Medica Inc.
Chris Bachner, Parijat Gandhi, Sean Kim, Valerie Robinson
Lanthanide chelate for targeting specific cancer cells with fluorescence imaging system.

Inhibitors of Rho Signaling and Cancer Metastasis
Gopi Krishnan, Mark DeLong, Manda Lai, Omar Usman
Targeting rho pathway to find higher efficacy and less toxicity than other treatments.

NeuroNexus: Neuro probe
Ambreesh Bansal, Sasanka Kalle, Gary Rabinovich
Analyze various human applications for neuro probe.

Reflectance Fluorescence Laser Spectroscopy
Vijay Sharma, Dan Moynihan, Tamara Dolyniuk, Aaron Wenzloff
Diagnostic tool that can reduce the number of close and positive margins during breast cancer surgery.

Raman Spectroscopy
Jafar Hasan, Topher McGibbon, Amy Mecozzi, Snehal Srikrishna
Non-invasive laser for diagnosis and monitoring of osteoporosis.

RenaMed of Michigan
Animesh Agrawaal, Jonathan Charles, Kelsey Lutz, Wei Zhang
Intravascular cell therapy for hemophilia.

Innoventures: Rapid BioSense
Sathinee Kalayanaroo, Venky Sridharan, Michael Tarasev, Hector Vayanos
Antibody-based detection of blood-borne pathogens developed with patent-pending technology.

According to Brophy, questions students must answer include:
—Is the product's success dependent on creation of a new market niche or will it replace an existing product or technology?
—What is the total value it will bring to customers?
—What are the potential obstacles?
—Will the benefits outweigh prospective customers' resistance to a new product or the infrastructure investment required to adopt a new technology?

Research commercialization is critically important, Brophy says, because technological innovation fuels competitiveness and the creation of economic value and jobs. And the work in his Financing Technological Entrepreneurship course positions Michigan at the forefront of this movement.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone: (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847