$200K Challenge 2020
Submission Deadline02/23/2020

The $200K Challenge is an international competition for early-stage medical device and biotech technologies. University spin-outs are welcomed and encouraged to apply. The $200K Challenge is being sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the Massachusetts Life Sciences CenterAmgenBoston Scientific, HologicMintz LevinMPR, Sarepta Therapeutics, Argenta Advisors, RQMIS Inc., and The Deshpande Foundation.

Any questions may be directed to maryann_picard@uml.edu or brennan_fournier@uml.edu

For more information and updates on the challenge, visit https://www.m2d2challenge.com/

Medical device innovators and life sciences startups: Enter the M2D2 $200K Challenge and you could win a share of $200K in in-kind support. Our signature annual pitch competition is your chance to propel your idea to the next level—or to market!


Is there an application fee?

  • Early bird fee is $25; regular fee is $50

Who can enter?

  • Inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and university researchers are all welcome to enter the challenge!

Do I need to have a registered company to apply?

  • No, university researchers and research teams are encouraged to apply. In the field where it asks for company name, type "none."

Can I enter as part of a team?

  • Yes! You can enter as an individual or team working in academic, research, or commercial start-up setting and have an innovative product or solution. 

Does an applicant have to give up any equity?

  • No, no equity is taken.

When do I need to submit my application?

  • You or your team leader needs to complete and submit all the application materials before the midnight deadline on Sunday, February 16, 2020 EST.

Are travel expenses paid?

  • No, applicant start-up companies are responsible for their travel costs related to attending pitch events and mandatory in-person events, where applicable.

What are the eligibility criteria for the M2D2 $200K Challenge program?

  • M2D2 seeks early to mid-stage start-ups in the medical device and biotech spaces. Specific areas of focus can be found here. We encourage those who are developing a product and/or service in the healthcare areas outlined to apply.

How do you select finalists for the M2D2 $200K Challenge?

  • M2D2, along with its Challenge sponsors, evaluates all applications based on value, strength, and execution plan. The company strength for each category is evaluated using multiple metrics.
  • Value – product, customer validation, business model & healthcare economics, competition, IP, market opportunity, and patient benefit
  • Strength – team strength, development plan, responsiveness/coachable, freedom to operate, regulatory & clinical burden, funding to date, resources needed
  • Execution plan – stage of development, evidence, time to market, traction, partnerships & relationships, time to key milestones, upcoming funding
  • Interaction with M2D2 and program sponsors is also used as an evaluation metric.

We just raised a Series E, can we still apply?

  • Yes! M2D2 encourages applications from companies at all stages of fundraising, from friends and family to seed and beyond to apply to the $200K Challenge. Preference is given to companies with transformative potential and those who will benefit the most from working with M2D2 and the Challenge sponsors.

We are developing a transformative healthcare technology at a university research lab. Can we apply?

  • Yes! Ventures involving technologies licensed from universities or research labs are encouraged to apply.

I noticed there is coaching available for finalists. What is this like?

  • All finalists are offered coaching appointments to meet with subject matter and pitch experts to refine their presentations and be ready for the pitch-off showcase event on March 25th. Coaching is organized by Mintz and is held at their offices in Boston.

If I am selected as a finalist do I have to attend the pitch event on March 25th in person?

  • Yes! You will gain the most value and exposure from pitching in person and interacting with the Challenge sponsors and investors.

Do I need to relocate to participate in the $200K Challenge?

  • No, but we hope one reason you’re applying is to gain access to the Boston ecosystem. This is a great way to do it!

We are based outside the U.S. Can we apply to the $200K Challenge?

  • Yes, international applicants are welcomed and are encouraged to apply.

I applied previously but didn’t receive an award. Should I reapply?

  • Yes, you should apply again as long as the proposal isn’t identical. The needs of the industry and sponsor interests are constantly evolving and can change from year to year. Any updates that took place over the past year should be highlighted in your application.

Is there an in-person informational session I can attend to learn more about the $200K Challenge?

  • Yes! On February  4th, M2D2 is hosting a networking event that will cover information on the $200K Challenge as well as everything you need to know to plan for venture capital financing. Use free code “M2D2VIP” and get your tickets here.

What are the key dates I should be aware of?

  • Monday, January 6th: Application Opens
  • Thursday, January 23rd: Live Webinar: "All About the Challenge." Watch Archive.  
  • Wednesday, January 28th: Info session & Venture Capital Financing Event
  • Sunday, February 16th: Entries close
  • Wednesday, March 4th: Finalists Announced.
  • Tuesday, March 17th: Finalists application & poster due
  • Thurs. March 5th-Tues. 24th: Coaching sessions for finalists
  • Tuesday, March 24th: Final slide deck due
  • Wednesday, March 25th: Finalist Pitch Competition
  • Tuesday, April 7th: Awards Announcement Event

Will finalists be notified ahead of time if they should attend the awards event on April 7th?

  • No! All finalists are expected to attend the awards event and be prepared to present their slide deck to the audience. It is a great opportunity for networking with Challenge sponsors, investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and others. Poster sessions are provided to all finalists at this event.

If I’m not selected as a finalist, will I receive a written explanation?

  • Unfortunately, due to the high number of applications, we cannot provide a written explanation to every applicant who isn’t selected as a finalist. Most times, it is due to not being properly aligned with the call for applications.

M2D2 $200K CHALLENGE 2020

Call for Applications - Important Information

The University of Massachusetts’ Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is pleased to launch the 9th Annual M2D2 $200K Challenge, an opportunity designed to showcase the innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit of seed and early-stage medical device and biotech companies. The M2D2 $200K Challenge Program is sponsored in partnership with

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Amgen, Asahi Intecc, Boston Scientific, Hologic, MPR Product Development, Mintz, RQMIS Inc., Sarepta Therapeutics, Omni Components, BARDA DRIVe, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre, Deshpande Foundation and Argenta Advisors.

The M2D2 $200K Challenge will award prizes and development services provided by the program sponsors to selected finalist companies.  Applicants from across the nation and beyond are invited to participate, but should clearly indicate their intent to leverage the resources provided as awards in the competition.

Key 2020 dates and deadlines:

January 6

Application period opens

Apply online: https://app.reviewr.com/s1/site/200KChallenge 2020

Early bird application fee $25; regular fee $50

February 4

Venture Capital event & $200K Challenge Info Session

Use complimentary code "M2D2VIP" and register at:


February 16

Application deadline

This is the last date to submit applications for the $200K Challenge 2020

March 4

Finalists announced

The most promising applicants are notified and announced as finalists

March 17

Materials due

-Final applications due

-Poster due

March 5 - March 24


Coaching sessions for finalists

Slide deck due

March 25

VIP Reception followed by Showcase event & poster sessions

Finalists deliver 4-minute pitches at UMass Lowell to panel of judges followed by 1-minute Q&A; poster sessions
April 7

All finalists participate in poster session

Winners announced / winners deliver 5-minute presentation at the offices of Mintz in Boston

M2D2, the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, is a joint initiative of the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the UMass system. Its aim is to help new biotech and medical device entrepreneurs develop products every step of the way, from proof-of-concept to commercialization. Its affiliated faculty and staff have assisted more than 100 start-up companies and entrepreneurs since the program kicked off in the spring of 2007.

I.          The M2D2 $200K Challenge is interested in receiving a broad range of applications and is seeking biotech, diagnostic, theapeutic, and medical device technologies.

Areas of Interest


Large molecule drug delivery technologies that simplify and optimize the patient experience as well as minimize the impact of therapy delivery on patients’ daily lives. Example areas of interest include technologies for targeted delivery (e.g., cell, tissue, organ, system, tumor), long acting doses, and self-administration outside of a health-care setting.

Digital and/or biomarker-based diagnostics that support the identification and medication adherence of patients with serious diseases.

Digital and/or device-based technologies that support the proper use of drug delivery devices.


Any area of vascular treatment and diagnostic devices including, but not limited to, cardiovascular, neurovascular, peripheral vascular and interventional oncology

Minimally invasive treatment devices for gastrointestinal disease, electrophysiology, ENT and orthopedics 


Solving sepsis:

-Clinical management strategies supported by enhanced education and awareness

-Rapid diagnostics & prognostics

-Continuous multi-dimensional patient monitoring

-Machine learning-based disease management feedback algorithms

-Optimized therapeutic interventions

Health security transformative technologies


Minimally invasive treatment or diagnostic device for solid tumors

Minimally invasive circulatory assist devices 

Minimally invasive devices for diagnosis and treatment in the areas of:

-Gastrointestinal disease

-Pelvic health

-Interventional cardiac and peripheral artery disease


Point of care technologies for:

Sleep disorders

Including complementary & integrative health approaches


Devices intended to simplify and improve therapeutic procedures in the women’s health space, filling treatment gaps and advancing patient care.  

Conditions of interest include:


Laparoscopic GYN surgery
Pelvic organ prolapse
Fecal incontinence
Pelvic/bladder pain
Contraception (non-hormonal)


3D Printing
Atrial fibrillation: detection, treatment, monitoring, ablation
Digital Surgery
Sensor technologies
Vision Care


Platform Technologies

·       AAV Gene Therapy: Capsids, genome constructs/payloads, manufacturing assets/capabilities, gene therapy immunology or immunomodulators, non-viral delivery vehicles, re-dosing strategies

·       CRISPR/Cas9 Genome and Epigenome Editing: Gene editing immunogenicity or immunomodulators, novel Cas enzymes, gRNA design/screening, unique expression constructs, viral/non-viral delivery vehicles, epigenome editing (dCas9)

·       Antisense Oligonucleotides for Splice Modulation or Translational Inhibition (Ideally Using PMO Chemistry): Novel drug conjugates (i.e. cell-penetrating peptides, antibodies, targeting ligands, etc) or delivery vehicles (i.e. nanoparticles, exosomes, etc)

Therapeutic Areas

·       Muscle: Diseases resulting from defects in skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle or the neuromuscular junction

·       Central/Peripheral Nervous System: Diseases resulting from defects in neuronal differentiation, maturation, innervation or injury

·       Disease-Area Expansion: Beyond our core Therapeutic Areas, we are also open to assessing disease indications that are amenable to our platform technologies

Ventures involving technologies licensed from universities or research labs are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

II. Eligibility: 

1. An Applicant must be a duly-organized and existing legal business entity (hereafter referred to as “Company”), including a partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or joint venture, or similar business organization or association under the law of the jurisdiction in which the Company is organized.    

2. The Company must be in good standing in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and if legally organized in another state or jurisdiction, must be existing and in good standing in that state or jurisdiction. 

3. All technology involved in the venture must be advanced enough that it is capable of demonstration. 

4. Company will be encouraged but not required to locate at M2D2.  

5. The $200K Challenge welcomes international applicants. 

III. Application Process:

A. Phase I Judging

Company submits basic non-confidential information regarding Company and business concept.  In rare circumstances additional information may be requested, such as business plans, financial statements and projections, published patent applications and related  documents.   M2D2 will review initial applications and select up to fifteen companies proceeding to the Phase II Reception and Presentations. 

B. Phase II Reception & Presentations

Company attends reception and presentation event on March 25, 2020 on the campus of UMass Lowell, Lowell MA 01854, providing a four-minute presentation to a Panel of Reviewers followed by one minute Q & A.  This event will be open to the public.  Reviewers for this round will be arranged by M2D2 and will include the event sponsors, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Amgen, Asahi Intecc, Boston Scientific, Hologic, MPR Product Development, Mintz, RQMIS Inc., Sarepta Therapeutics, Omni Components, BARDA DRIVe, Healthcare Innovation Centre, Deshpande Foundation and Argenta Advisors.  Panel of reviewers score Company.  Companies must attend and give presentation in person to be considered for an award. Virtual participation is not allowed. $200K Challenge finalists will be invited to the Phase III Final Awards Announcement and Presentation.

C. Phase III Final Awards Announcement and Presentation

$200K Challenge finalists will be invited to the Awards Announcement and Reception at the Boston office of Mintz, to be held on April 7, 2020. Following the presentation of awards, winners will be invited to deliver a 5-minute presentation.  

D. Incubation of Award Winners at M2D2

Upon selection of the Companies receiving awards, each Company will negotiate with M2D2 and the appropriate Program Sponsors to define the terms of incubation including the specific services to be provided and the requirements for such. 

IV. Selection and Judging Criteria:

Company will be evaluated based on its chance for market success. The following categories will be used in evaluating the Company.

-Unmet need
-Area(s) of focus
-Proposed solution

-Clinical status

-Market status

-Regulatory pathway and status

-Competitive Advantage
-Management team
-Funding Requirements and Financial Forecast
-Business Plan
-Level of interest expressed in interacting with M2D2 and program sponsors

V. Legal Documentation Required:

The below documents should be available upon request: 

Articles or Certificate of Incorporation (corporation) or Articles of Organization (limited liability company) or Articles of Limited Partnership, or similar publicly filed organic documents. 

By-laws (corporation), Partnership Agreement, or Operating Agreement (limited liability company).           

Certificate(s) of good standing from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and, if applicable, from state or country of organization. 

Redacted License Agreements, where applicable, noting Company’s IP rights. 

VI. Prizes: 

To be determined 

VII. Disclosure of Information:

No promise of confidentiality, non-competition or non-disclosure is made by the University of Massachusetts, Reviewers, and Sponsors. Any company submitting information for consideration in this competition acknowledges that its information may be made public, and that any presentations may be open to any interested parties, including the general public. 

VIII. Limitation of Liability:

Company releases the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Amgen, Asahi Intecc, Boston Scientific, Hologic, MPR Product Development, Mintz, RQMIS Inc., Sarepta Therapeutics, Omni Components, BARDA DRIVe, Healthcare Innovation Centre, Deshpande Foundation and Argenta Advisors, and their respective directors, officers, employees, agents, reviewers, sponsors, and all award suppliers from any and all liability for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from acceptance, possession, or use of any award or participation in this competition, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law. 

Company agrees to indemnify the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, Amgen, Asahi Intecc, Boston Scientific, Hologic, MPR Product Development, Mintz, RQMIS Inc., Sarepta Therapeutics, Omni Components, BARDA DRIVe, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre, Deshpande Foundation and Argenta Advisors, and their respective sponsors, reviewers, agents or employees against any claim that Company’s involvement violated any rules or regulations of the U.S. or any other country as a result of Company's participation. 

Company or individual is solely responsible for compliance with any laws, rules and regulations that may be applicable to participation in the competition or to any awards received. 

Company or individual is solely responsible for all (both U.S. and non-U.S.) taxes, withholdings or other governmental assessments that might be applicable as a result of participating in this competition. 

IX. Governing Law:

The parties agree that this Competition shall be governed, construed, interpreted, and enforced according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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