Skip to Main Content

News Center

Student Pharmapreneurs Hone Business Ideas in Dolphin Tank

Pharmapreneurship pathway helps students develop innovative, transformative early-stage ideas.

A student pharmacist presents to four other people in the Pharmapreneur's Farm.

By Andrew Tie
May 16, 2024

Students in the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s (UMSOP) Pharmapreneurship® pathway presented business pitches as a year-end capstone project to industry experts on April 23.

Known as Dolphin Tank, a gentler spinoff of the business pitching TV show Shark Tank, the pitching event serves as a culmination of the year’s Pharmapreneurship Seminar coursework. Beginning in the fall, pathway students in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program learn about the process of developing a business idea and bringing it to market. This includes learning about entrepreneurial topics like market research, customer discovery, business planning, finances, patent laws, and application development.

“The goal of Dolphin Tank is to prepare students to think in a pharmapreneurial way that combines their unique skillset as pharmacists in training and the tools needed to be a pharmapreneur,” said Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, BCPS, CDE, FAPhA, the Felix Gyi Endowed Memorial Professor in Pharmapreneurship, associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation and pharmapreneurship pathway coordinator. “It is so refreshing to see our students thinking outside the box about the intersection of pharmacy and social or technology issues. We are also very fortunate to have tremendous judges to provide invaluable feedback to our students.”

Judges for this year’s Dolphin Tank included:

Student Reflections

Rachel Decker, a second-year student pharmacist, presented an idea to create a pH balancing mouth rinse called pHresh Breath. This idea combined her knowledge of pharmacy and prior experience as a dental hygienist. A pH balancing mouth rinse would help prevent harmful oral conditions, namely erosion.

“It was very beneficial to receive feedback from so many different points of view,” Decker said. “The judges had me considering many things that I had not foreseen, and they also provided helpful insights on how to improve and grow my idea.”

Tuador Wikina, a third-year student pharmacist, pitched her idea called Her Health IQ, an app to enhance health literacy among women of color. The app would provide comprehensive health information and resources and help users navigate the health care system. She said the Dolphin Tank pitch and feedback provided confidence in advancing the concept.

“Taking part in the pitch was a significant experience for me, as it made me feel like I was taking real steps towards my pharmapreneurial goals,” Wikina said. “The insightful questions from the panel helped me clarify the initial stages of my idea, and I’m really thankful for that guidance.”

Other ideas presented at Dolphin Tank included a weight loss app for patients following bariatric surgery, a first-aid kit for survivors of sexual assault, and virtual reality devices for stroke patients.

The Office of Pharmapreneurship will be hosting its first-ever Pharmapreneurship Summit on Oct. 8 in Pharmacy Hall. Events will include keynote speeches and the Pharmapreneur’s Market, a formal student business pitching competition with an ultimate prize up to $100,000 in start-up funds.

Related News Stories