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BioEntrepreneurship program to fuel NYS life science startups

Cornell MBA students and life science researchers will be able to immerse themselves in real-world startup projects and get the tools, training and connections to launch their own life science startups through a new certificate program.

The BioEntrepreneurship fellowship, offered by the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, will connect participants to life science companies in New York state while catalyzing the formation of new life science startups. Funded by Empire State Development, the fellowship aims to spur the growth of life science innovation by connecting upstate and downstate researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators – solidifying New York as a global leader in the arena.

“We are very grateful for this exciting opportunity to partner with New York’s Empire State Development. This program has the potential to create new and innovative opportunities for our students who aspire to build a better world in life science commercialization,” said Andrew Karolyi, dean of Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “The program will bring together talent from across Cornell University and leverage the vast expertise found in our graduate programs, including MBA and Ph.D. programs. It’s a truly collaborative initiative that can ultimately leverage business innovation and entrepreneurship and lead to transformative change.”

Up to 30 fellows will be selected in the first round of the program, including 15 MBA students and 15 clinicians, scientists and engineers from disciplines across the university. They will participate in a series of intensive workshops and form small teams to focus on a single innovation for which they will create a business case and launch plan.

“The fellows in this program will be addressing real-world challenges, making important connections and bringing novel technologies to market, all while leveraging the strengths of Cornell’s many colleges and departments that are innovating in healthcare and the life sciences,” said Matt DeLisa, the William L. Lewis Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of Cornell’s Institute of Biotechnology.

Entrepreneurs, researchers and leaders in New York’s life sciences ecosystem will connect with the fellows in a variety of ways. They will serve as guest speakers, educating the fellows on commercialization; industry coaches, providing mentorship and introductions; advisory panel members, holding the fellows accountable and providing feedback; and hosts, for a series of field trips to life science companies throughout the state.

Cornell is uniquely positioned to manage this initiative, as it leads the state in spending on life sciences research and development and ranks among the top 13 institutions nationwide, Karolyi said.

“Weill Cornell Medicine has an enduring legacy of innovation. Its accomplished physicians and scientists catalyze research breakthroughs into new modalities and therapies that have the potential to transform human health,” said Dr. Barbara Hempstead, dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and the O. Wayne Isom Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“The BioEntrepreneurship initiative,” she said, “will tap into that deep reservoir of expertise and provide program fellows with a hands-on education – collaborating alongside their colleagues at the Ithaca campus – that will help them realize their entrepreneurial endeavors.”

The initiative aligns with Cornell’s charge to support radical collaboration across disciplines, and among its campuses in Ithaca and New York City, to develop research-based solutions to real-world challenges.

“We are generating world-class technologies at Cornell and we need to develop world-class management to make these technologies a reality in the market,” said David Putnam, associate dean for innovation and entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering and biomolecular engineering. “This grant, and the program it launches, is one step in creating a technology corridor between the Finger Lakes and Manhattan.”

Applications for the fellowship will open in fall 2021; coursework will begin in spring 2022. Students interested in applying to the program can learn more at eship.cornell.edu/BioE.

Molly Israel is the director of communications at Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

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