Skip to main content

Press Release

Zia Scientific Takes Top Prize in UNM Tech Business Plan Competition

March 30, 2007

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) After months of agonizing over details and striving for perfection – and despite the heavy load of classes associated with being full-time students, nine teams gave presentations today at the University of New Mexico’s second Technology Business Plan Competition. A who’s who of New Mexico venture capitalists, whittled that group of nine down to five finalist teams and then awarded first, second and third place prizes worth $25,000, $10,000 and $5,000 to the top three teams.

“In 2006 we saw presentations from 17 teams, and while the quality was high, this year’s competitors were the crème of the crop. All of the judges commented on the extraordinarily high quality of this year’s business plans,” says competition director Dr. Sul Kassicieh, who holds Anderson’s Chair in Economic Development.

Zia Scientific, a company designed to commercialize two new drug delivery systems developed at UNM, took home the Michael Gallegos Prize for Entrepreneurship, totaling $25,000 and accompanied by services worth $2,500 from accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP and law firm Brownstein Hyatt & Farber. Team members David Stein, PhD; Peter Mertens; and Randy Burge are all MBA candidates in the Anderson School’s Management of Technology program.

The Ensura Diagnostics project, which provides a business plan for two new diagnostic blood tests for pregnant women, won the Technology Venture Capital/Lockheed Martin-sponsored second prize of $10,000. The business plan was produced and presented by Jovan Huesser and Elena Rusu, Anderson MBA students.

The WeeCare team won the DePonte Investments, Inc.-sponsored third prize of $5,000. Cynthia M. Harris and James Burnes, Anderson MBA students, presented their plan to market a line of interactive baby-soothing systems, including toys and crib and car seat accessories.

The 2006 winning team, Satyrne Biotechnologies, has recently gone on to present in competitions in San Diego and San Francisco.

Corporate sponsors of the competition include American Property Management Corp., Technology Ventures Corporation/Lockheed Martin, DePonte Investments Inc., vSpring Capital, Brownstein Hyatt & Farber, Grant Thornton LLP, the New Mexico Venture Capital Association, and Wasatch Venture Fund.


The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico is dedicated to excellence in professional management education. At the Anderson School, faculty, staff, and students are committed to shaping the intellect and character of the next generation of business leaders, advancing the knowledge and practice of management, promoting economic development, and building a vibrant intellectual community that serves the highest and best interests of all our stakeholders.

The School was founded in 1947 and now offers more than a dozen concentrations at the BBA and MBA levels and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the top 20% of business schools in the nation. The School is funded by the State of New Mexico and further support is generated by The Anderson School of Management Foundation. For more information, the public can visit, email, or call (505) 277-6471.