Callie TroutfetterCallie Troutfetter

A Concordia University Wisconsin student has advanced to the semi-final round of the annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Callie Troutfetter, a Master of Product Development major at CUW, submitted a proposal for her work with Estrigenix, a spinout company cofounded by researchers from Concordia, Marquette University, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that focuses on the development of a drug to treat dementia. As part of her master’s thesis work, Troutfetter is writing the Estrigenix business plan under the mentorship of lead researcher Dr. Daniel Sem, dean of the Batterman School of Business and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Concordia. Last fall, Sem received a renewal of a multi-million dollar three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health for the research effort.

Troutfetter will present her work in Orlando this April. She also won an all-expense paid travel award to the national conference.

Troutfetter was among the 50 entries to advance to the second round of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which is supported by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The contestants were selected from a field of about 200 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of 95 judges.

The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology, and life sciences.

Concordia University also has ties to two other semi-finalists in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Vivid Microscopy, LLC, led by Jayson Kurfis, has generated three probes that can image, quantify and sort cells based on the levels of oxidative stress. Sem is the principle investigator on a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant received earlier this year to support research efforts of Vivid.

A third semi-finalist, ReNeuroGen, participated in the biennial Healthcare Innovation Pitch program four years ago, which Concordia’s Batterman School of Business sponsors. The ReNeuroGen company took home $25,000 in the 2015 HIP competition.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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