A polished pitch delivered by Concordia alumna Kylee Marks helped snag a second-place victory at the 18th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which wrapped up Thursday afternoon.

Competition organizers yesterday announced Estrigenix and its chemical compound that reduces hot flashes and the occurrence of dementia in women as runner up in the Life Sciences category. Estrigenix is a pharmaceutical company co-founded by Concordia Business Dean Daniel Sem, Karyn Frick of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and William Donaldson of Marquette University. A UW-Madison spinoff company that pitched a device to better monitor the heart during surgery took home first place at the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

On Wednesday, Marks (’21) presented on behalf of Estrigenix to a panel of judges, fielding expert questions at the conclusion of her prepared 5-minute pitch. Marks took on marketing for Estrigenix as part of her senior thesis project. She graduated from Concordia in May with a master’s in product development (pharmaceutical concentration) and her MBA.

For this week’s final round of competition, Estrigenix was one of 12 contestants that emerged from three rounds of judging. The contest began in late January with 251 qualified entries. Entries were submitted in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Contestants typically present in-person but because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, this year’s pitches were delivered virtually. Marks navigated the lag in technology and other adjustments due to the medium with expertise.

“Being a part of the Estrigenix team has provided me with invaluable experience,” said Marks. “I have had the opportunity to learn from three incredibly knowledgeable individuals whose passion and dedication to improving women’s health is truly inspirational. I am grateful that I’ve been able to be a part of this journey and I am excited for the potential impact this drug will have on women and their future generations.”

Learn more

Stay up-to-date with Estrigenix at estrigenix.com.

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

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