A team of five students claimed first place at the E(I) Lab Awards ceremony in April, following their project creation called NarcAlert – a device designed to prevent drug diversion in healthcare facilities.
The E(I) Lab is a six-month-long experiential program that brings together graduate students, professional students and postdocs from diverse disciplines across UNC to conceive, develop and test innovative solutions to unmet needs in healthcare. This year’s winning team (called BCSD) included UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy students Christopher Wang, Brandon Luong, Stephanie Kim, Xiaorui Fu and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School student Chi Tsu.
“We started our idea after reading about how the recent opioid epidemic was affecting not only patients, but healthcare providers such as nurses and physicians as well,” Wang said. “After talking with some nurses and physicians from across NC and beyond, we found out that it is easy for opioids to be stolen during the wasting process because there is limited oversight and accountability.”
NarcAlert utilizes a camera and disposable dip stick tests to identify medications. Medications then drop into a mixture of chemicals, making them irretrievable, Wang said.
“This allows for the ability to create visual documentation of every wasted controlled substance, effectively preventing drug diversion during the wasting process,” he said.
The team worked closely with Glenn Walters, Ph.D. at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and with the UNC Makerspace Lab to create their prototype.
“We are so excited that the judges found our waste device to be both a viable and profitable startup idea,” Wang said. “In all, our team really appreciated the high-level of networking, mentorship, and support E(I) Lab provided throughout the six-month entrepreneurship crash course. It was also an honor to have the opportunity to work alongside each of the other talented E(I) Lab Teams and hear their unique project ideas and value propositions.”
Top teams from the event include:
- 1st place team, BCSD, cash prize of $3,000
- 2nd place team, The Allergic Reactions, cash prize of $1,500 (team also participated in the Carolina Innovation Showcase in April)
- 3rd place team, PharMBAs, cash prize of $750
Participating students represented the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, the UNC School of Medicine, and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The winning team will now go on to participate in the university-wide Carolina Challenge where they will have the opportunity to win up to $15,000 to move their project idea forward.
For more information about the E(I) Lab, visit eilab.unc.edu.