Benjamin Wang: How to Make a Difference
Winner, 2014 Big Bang! Business Competition
Benjamin Wang M.D. has been focused on creating positive change since he first stepped on the Davis campus as an undergraduate. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology, Wang enrolled in medical school at the University of Miami.
There, he was deeply moved by the death of a young patient, who succumbed to ventilator-associated pneumonia. “Seeing someone that young and not being able to help them drove me to seek a solution,” he said.
“The Big Bang! has helped both my company and my professional development. The institute’s programs truly impact lives all around the world.”
After earning his M.D. in 2011, Wang co-founded NeVap Inc. As the startup’s inventor and chief medical officer he develops medical devices that protect patients from bacterial infections. But as a first-time entrepreneur—despite promising developments and results—he initially struggled to attract attention.
Then Wang entered the 2014 Big Bang! and won first prize.
He took home $10,000, a well-honed pitch and exposure to investors and major companies. Within a year, NeVap had raised more than $1 million—enough to fund the design of a scalable breathing tube that could reduce the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia, save lives, save hospitals money, and extend the usefulness of ailing antibiotics.
NeVap recently received FDA clearance for its Aspire breathing tube. The device maximizes pathogen removal and enhances safety for patients who need mechanical ventilation. Wang says the Aspire will help some of the world’s sickest patients, and prevent hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. He is enthusiastic about the clearance, noting that the company was able to receive it in a remarkable time.
Giving Back, Paying Forward
Wang is a familiar face in the entrepreneurial community at UC Davis. From leading Big Bang! workshops and judging team pitches to serving as a mentor at the Entrepreneurship Academies, Wang is giving back to aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs in the programs that helped guide him to achieve the success he is having today.
At a recent panel discussion for fellows in the Leaders for the Future program, Wang shared his view on what motivates innovators and entrepreneurs stating, “If you think differently, feel differently than the path that has been laid out for you—then take that other path and create real change.”
Inspiring words for the next generation of innovators a UC Davis—from one who knows.