Health / Pitches / Science

Baltimore-based Capsulomics wins first place at Patriot Boot Camp in Utah

The life sciences company, which is licensing technology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, developed a DNA test to detect esophageal cancer. CEO Daniel Lunz pitched as part of the bootcamp supported by Techstars.

Capsulomics CEO Daniel Lunz (right) after winning first place at Patriot Boot Camp. (Courtesy photo)

Baltimore-based Capsulomics won the top award in Utah last month at a pitch competition that was part of a boot camp for early-stage companies founded by military members, veterans and military spouses.

Cofounder and CEO Daniel Lunz pitched the company’s test for early detection of esophogeal cancer at Patriot Boot Camp. The event was held on Aug. 25 at the headquarters of financial data company MX in Lehi, Utah.

Presented by noted accelerator Techstars, the boot camp brought together 50 entrepreneurs who worked with teachers and mentors. The event included pitches from 10 founders, who presented to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs. They selected Lunz as the winner.

Capsulomics licensed technology to develop a DNA test for early detection of cancer of the esophogeal cancer and its precancerous condition, known as Barrett’s esophogaus. The latter is present in 10% of people who have chronic heartburn and can be a precursor to the disease. The company said more than 500,000 people die from the form of cancer each year, while only 15% of people who contract it survive. Patients who had Barrett’s esophogaus diagnosed in the early form, however, have a 90% survival rate. So early diagnosis can play a key role in successful treatment.

“I am grateful to have been invited to this event and the opportunity to represent our team in the pitch competition; this award is a testimony to the work Capsulomics is doing to better serve patients through early detection. We know that if the disease is caught early enough, it can often be cured,” Lunz, a seven-year Marine Corps veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, said in a statement.

Founded by Lunz and Dr. Stephen J. Meltzer, Capsulomics licensed technology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The test has been fully developed and clinically validated, according to the company. The three-person team works out of Johns Hopkins’ FastFoward 1812 incubator near the university’s medical campus.

With the first place award, the company was also able to connect with investors who attended the event, Lunz said.

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