Harvard Chan–affiliated teams named finalists in President’s Innovation Challenge

Two teams with ties to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are among 25 finalists in the 2021 President’s Innovation Challenge presented by the Harvard Innovation Labs.

One of the Harvard Chan–affiliated finalists is Concerto Biosciences, a venture that discovers and develops specific combinations of microbes that, working together, accomplish important functions in human health, agriculture, and industry. The venture was co-founded by Adil Bahalim, DrPH ’20, Bernardo Cervantes, Cheri Ackerman, and Jared Kehe. Concerto Biosciences won a runner-up prize ($25,000) in the Health and Life Science track in last year’s challenge.

The other finalist is SanaRx Biotherapeutics, which uses synthetic biology and genetic engineering to help detect, visualize, and treat rare diseases of the alimentary tract. SanaRx was co-founded by Rick Pierce, Jeffrey Wagner (a former postdoctoral fellow in the Eric Rubin Lab), Fred Mermelstein, and Carl Novina.

The President’s Innovation Challenge is aimed at recognizing efforts by members of the Harvard community to design solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Prizewinners—who will win a share of $510,000 in prizes funded by the Bertarelli Foundation—will be named at a May 5 virtual awards ceremony featuring pitches from the finalists and interviews with the winners.

Read a Harvard Gazette article about the President’s Innovation Challenge: The best from the brightest