The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Bac-Be-Gone Triumphs at Amherst Pitch Night

Scientist examining bacteria dishes.

It is not an easy journey to create a startup. But that’s exactly what Commonwealth Honors College students Hadley Beauregard, Hailey Charest, and Bryanna Lexus Freitas set out to do.

Starting as a project in the Riley Lab on MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial infection typically acquired in hospitals), Bac-Be-Gone is a company that produces antimicrobial cleaning agents. Unlike other agents on the market, Bac-Be-Gone’s product is an organic, nontoxic, antimicrobial cleaning agent with the power to kill pathogens on contact.

Hadley is a sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology and German and Scandinavian studies major, senior Bryanna is majoring in chemistry and psychology, and Hailey is a junior biochemistry and molecular biology major.

“As a STEM major, it is really cool to see the business side of things and begin to understand the way science business runs. My team and I have learned a lot in the short time we have been pursuing our venture, and we continue to do so every day,” said Hailey. “It is really amazing being able to translate the research we are conducting in our research lab into a real-world application.”

Hailey, Bryanna, and Hadley are not the only ones who believe in their vision. The three took the top prize at Amherst Pitch Night on February 6, securing $600 for their startup. They also won $5,000 in the second round of the UMass Berthiaume Center’s Innovation Challenge. They plan to continue to compete in the next round, as well as the Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs later on in the semester.