School name: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Team members: Wolfgang Ettlich, Randhir Hebbar, Carrie Ho, Pie Kullamas Kanpittaya, David Yuan
Concept: Zeopane's innovative insulin patches use tiny needles to inject insulin into the bloodstream painlessly. The Hong Kong-based company makes its mini-syringes from the mineral zeolite, which the company claims will not cause infection. Zeopane believes its product, at one dollar a patch, would trump current insulin delivery systems in price.
The team's international experience - members have worked in the U.S. and Asia - lends credibility to its plan to eventually break into Chinese and Indian markets where diabetes has been rising rapidly. The company hopes to sell its wares to retailers by partnering with major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly.
Timeline: Zeopane plans to file an FDA application at the end of 2008, and then begin product marketing. The company will concurrently seek to form partnerships with one or more major insulin suppliers by the end of 2010, by which time it expects to have obtained FDA approval. The microneedle patch should hit stores by the end of 2011. - Herman Wong