University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

Student Wins Innovation-to-Market Competition

A University of New Hampshire School of Law student with a biomedical engineering background who invented a clip to stop brain aneurysms has won this year’s UNH Paul J. Holloway Prize Innovation-to-Market competition, which includes a grand prize of $25,000 in celebration of the competition’s 25th anniversary.

Hosted by UNH's Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics on May 8, the competition is the oldest business plan competition in the state and one of the first in the nation.

Second-year UNH Law student Craig Litherland won the competition for his zero artifact aneurysm clip, which can significantly reduce the cost of treating brain aneurysms and save lives. According to Litherland, subarachnoid hemorrhage or bleeding on the brain is a significant problem and typically caused by leaking aneurysms in brain arteries. About 5 percent of the U.S. population harbors these ticking time bombs.

In clip litigation, the surgeon manually places a titanium clip across the aneurysm to prevent it from bleeding. However, today’s titanium clips can cause blurred images on medical scans, preventing accurate diagnosis and treatment. Litherland’s zero artifact clip, CranioVation, remedies this problem.

Litherland said he got the idea for the clip after his best friend Dr. Vijay Agarwal, who is a neurosurgeon, told him about the problem and the need for a clip that would not obscure medical scans. He has been working on the design for a year and decided to enter the Holloway Competition after learning about it from last year’s winner Andrew Jaccoma, for whom he provided patent consulting advice about Jaccoma’s winning idea, Sensible Spreader System.

“I was really surprised to win because there were so many good ideas. I was happy just to run the idea through the process and in front of the judges,” said Litherland, who will use his $25,000 in prize money to develop prototypes of the zero artifact aneurysm clip.

Six finalists competed for more than $75,000 in prize money and consulting services provided by the Paul College and the event sponsors: Paul and Anna Grace Holloway, the Paul J. Holloway Prize Fund, the Albin Entrepreneurship Fund, the Nelson Fund for Business Innovation, PixelMEDIA, the New Hampshire Innovation Commercialization Center and Devine Millimet Attorneys at Law. More than 80 teams entered the competition.

The competition is designed to stimulate entrepreneurship. Open to all University System of New Hampshire graduate and undergraduate students who have a proposal for bringing an innovative product or service to market, the competition helps students gain firsthand experience in commercializing new products and services, and provides access to faculty advisors and industry experts.