Travelers may bestow whimsical names upon the affliction, but diarrhea-related complications kill more than a million children a year worldwide. A Berkeley MBA team shedding light on a possible solution won a recent competition and created a new teaching tool in the process.
Katrin Cox and Annie Murphy, both MBA/MPH 14, and Priya Mehta, MBA 14, won the annual Business School Alliance for Health Management Competition, this year hosted by Harvard and focusing on entrepreneurship in global health.
“The competition was different in that we wrote and presented a case, rather than ‘solving’ one,” says Murphy. The teams were challenged to write a paper and make a final presentation profiling a company uniquely tackling a global health issue. Haas placed first, followed by Carlson and Wharton.
The Haas team found a solution in Napo Pharmaceuticals, a small Bay Area biotech company that focuses on discovering new drugs derived from plants and adapting tropical indigenous knowledge to modern technology. Cox, Murphy, and Mehta interviewed senior leadership at Napo, whose first commercial drug recently received FDA approval for the treatment of chronic diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS, but has the potential to treat many kinds of diarrhea in both adults and children.
Judges encouraged the team to convert their paper into a case study, which they are working on, with the help of California Management Review Managing Editor Kora Cypress. Faculty members Whitney Hischier and Kristi Raube also helped the team strengthen its presentation and expand its knowledge of the industry.