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Announcing the Spring 2022 Cohort

Meet the five emerging biotech companies chosen to participate in the spring 2022 cohort of MassBioDrive

Artificial Axon Labs Inc.

Based in Massachusetts

Anna Jagielska, Ph.D., President, CEO, CSO, & Co-Founder
Kavin Kowsari, Vice-President, CTO, & Co-Founder

Artificial Axon Labs is developing a transformational drug discovery platform to discover medicines for neurodegenerative diseases. Our technology, developed by the company founders at MIT, combines novel biocompatible materials, state-of-the-art 3D printing of axon mimics (Artificial Axons), and patient-derived human cells to generate first-in-class remyelinating drugs for Multiple Sclerosis.


Atorvia Health Technologies

Based in Canada

Jane Lapon, CEO
David Allinson, CFO & Head of Business Development
Nermeen Varawalla MD, Chair Clinical Advisory Group
Steven C. Borkan MD, Associate Professor, Boston Medical Centre

Atorvia’s purpose is to transform outcomes for patients with severe medical conditions.  Our initial focus is acute kidney injury (AKI), a devastating condition which affects millions worldwide yet still lacks effective therapy.  To address this crisis, we are developing a kidney-targeted peptide that prevents regulated cell death and kidney failure.


Modulari-T Biosciences

Based in Canada

David Cotnoir-White, Ph.D., CEO & Co-Founder
Étienne Gagnon, Ph.D., CSO & Co-Founder

Modulari-T is a preclinical stage immunotherapy startup developing a novel platform, the MARC, to reprogram immune cells for oncology and beyond. Our MARC technology is twice as potent as CAR-T while reducing side-effects ten-fold which will enable adoptive cell therapy to break-in to new indications in autoimmunity and regenerative medicine.


PhenoTarget Biosciences, Inc.

Based in California

Shoutian Zhu, Ph.D., CEO
Wenshe Liu, Ph.D., CSO
James Schaeffer, Ph.D., CBO

PhenoTarget Biosciences, Inc. is a biotech startup focused on the discovery and development of first-in-class therapies for unmet medical needs including oncology, fibrosis, cardiovascular diseases and infectious diseases. We are modality agnostic that our pipeline and technology platforms span small molecules to functionalized peptides and next generation cell therapies.


SYTE.bio, Inc.

Based in Massachusetts

Martin Williams, CEO & Founder

SYTE.bio is an early-stage synthetic biology company focused on the discovery, development and future commercialization of precision therapeutics using its proprietary Linear DNA and Circular RNA technology platforms. SYTE.bio aims to deliver novel and effective therapeutics and vaccines enabling precise corrective and preventive treatments for patients worldwide.


About MassBioDrive

MassBioDrive is a next-generation accelerator designed to advance breakthrough science and provide opportunities to innovators from all parts of the life science ecosystem. 

Twice a year, we support a small group of groundbreaking scientists by connecting them with business fundamental curriculum, mentorship, industry connections, and equity free prizes – without taking anything in return.

Our goal is to help you take that first (big) step outside of the lab by arming you with the business insights and network so your startup can grow more effectively and efficiently.

Key Dates for S22 Cohort
  • March 21 – May 13, 2022: S22 Cohort 
  • March 30, 2022: Innovation Ecosystem Mixer 
  • May 5, 2022: S22 Demo Day  

Inside MassBioDrive

During each hybrid eight-week program, we connect you with: 
  • Six industry-specific curriculum modules led by experts
  • A small, dedicated group of industry mentors tailored to fit your needs
  • Networking opportunities and industry connections: 
    • End-of-program Demo Day, where you’ll present your company to the life sciences ecosystem
    • 1:1 meeting(s) with life sciences leaders at MassBio’s bi-annual Partnering Weeks 
    • An equity-free stipend from Bristol Myers Squibb
    • Access to and/or resources from from MassBioDrive partners including Evaluate, Watershed Informatics, Springer Nature, and MassChallenge

MassBioDrive does not take any equity from the companies we support and our program is free to all participants. 

Contact our team to receive a notification when the fall 2022 application opens in June.

2022 Review Board

James (Jay) Bradner, M.D.

President, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR)

Christine Brennan

Managing Director, Vertex Ventures HC

Abraham Ceesay

President, Cerevel Therapeutics

Omar H. Khalil

Partner, Santé Ventures

Jen Nwankwo, Ph.D.

Founder and CEO, 1910 Genetics

2022 Curriculum Experts

Business Plan and Commercialization Strategy

From seed stage businesses to public companies —as you make history, J.P. Morgan will be with you every step of the way. Our bankers and specialists focus on solutions for life sciences companies at all stages—from startups to established businesses, pre-clinical through commercialization. We have decades of experience in the sector and understand the complex financial and regulatory challenges you face. We bring a wealth of expertise and insights to the venture capital space, and we’re ready to help you stay positioned for innovation and growth. We know no two life sciences companies are the same. That’s why our team goes below the surface to support the unique needs of industry subsectors, including biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical tools and diagnostics, and CROs, CDMOs and CMOs. Our clients also gain access to vital industry insights from the annual J.P. Morgan Health Conference, along with the rich analysis and research of J.P. Morgan Markets.

Drug Development

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue of approximately $40 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 100,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services, Patheon and PPD.

IP and Legal

Wilson Sonsini’s Boston office is home to one of the leading life sciences law practices in both the city and New England. The firm focuses on providing practical, business-savvy advice to entrepreneurs and investors as they build tomorrow’s companies. Wilson Sonsini’s Boston office keeps the team in close proximity to the many extraordinary growth enterprises and innovative scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and universities in and around the area. The firm’s team frequently represents companies that are significant influencers in the life sciences, technology, energy, and financial industries, among other sectors. The firm’s clients range from early-stage start-ups to public companies, as well as their board and management teams, and also represents leading venture capital and private equity firms, along with other investor institutions.

Regulatory Strategy

New regulatory requirements, a flurry of M&A activity, fierce competition, declining margins and rapidly emerging technologies create new complexities for medical device, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical companies. Further, there is growing scrutiny on drug prices along with lengthy and costly R&D cycles. Many life sciences companies are taking new approaches to achieve growth and improve performance, all while focusing on managing risk and maintaining compliance. At KPMG, we have a long track record of helping life sciences organizations define and implement practical solutions to their most complex challenges. 

Fundraising

Based in Boston, MA, Xontogeny seeks to accelerate the development of life science technologies by providing entrepreneurs with funding options as well as the leadership, strategic guidance and operational support necessary to increase the probability of success in early drug and technology development. Through a differentiated approach, the Xontogeny team partners with founding scientists and entrepreneurs to support their vision while allowing a more efficient development model that benefits company founders and early equity holders.

People Strategy and Operations

Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) provides business insurance, employee health & benefits, retirement, and private client insurance solutions to organizations and individuals seeking limitless possibilities. With over 8,000 colleagues and 160 offices across the United States and Canada, MMA combines the personalized service model of a local consultant with the global resources and expertise of the world’s leading professional services firm, Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC). MMA generates more than $2 billion in annualized revenue, making it one of the largest brokerage operations in North America. 

2022 Premier Sponsors

How to Apply

The application for the spring 2022 cohort is now closed. Contact our team to receive a notification when the fall 2022 application opens in June.

Questions about Drive? Check out our FAQ or reach out to our team.

You’re eligible to apply for MassBioDrive if: 
  • You have a therapeutic, biologic, or platform technology that you believe can become the next big biotech startup
  • Your startup has access to the intellectual property for your science or technology, either through a license agreement or through an option agreement to negotiate a license agreement
  • Your startup has raised less than $1 million in equity-based funding 
  • You will be able to participate in all cornerstone components of the program (curriculum, weekly mentoring sessions, and networking events)

Please note that this is a non-confidential program. Accordingly, do not include any confidential information or any information that could be harmful to your startup should it be disclosed in your application. To learn more about MassBioDrive’s approach to confidentiality, please review our Participant Agreement.

Underscoring MassBio’s commitment to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive life sciences ecosystem, MassBioDrive is committed to supporting and advancing innovators from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Learn more about MassBioDrive’s Code of Conduct here.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Interested in supporting MassBioDrive’s startups? Here’s how you can get involved with the program:


If you’d like to share your expertise:
Become a mentor. Mentors play an invaluable role in helping founders take the first step (and all the other steps after). Your perspectives and experiences could be extremely valuable to someone who is just starting out. If you’d like to learn more, visit our mentor overview and interest form. 

If you want a front-row seat to the latest industry breakthroughs:
Volunteer as an analyst. Analysts are undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in the life sciences (biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry, or biochemistry preferred) or business, or experienced professionals who help conduct due diligence on our cohort applications. Interested? Send us your CV to start the conversation.

Thank you to our S22 analysts!
  • Telvin Abariga, IALS Business Innovation Fellow, UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management
  • Alfonso Alarcon, BD Manager, SHEPHERD Therapeutics;
  • Kaitlin Arsenault, Consultant, Project Associate, Halloran Consulting Group
  • Sumedha Bagga, Ph.D., Boston University Questrom School of Business
  • Lily Borisov, Consultant, Halloran Consulting Group
  • Ting-Ya Chang, Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University
  • Nan (Carina) Cheng, Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Justin English, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Yvonne Flores, Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University Biomedical Sciences
  • Alexander Margulis, Chief Operating Officer, Mansfield Bio-Incubator
  • Kelly Ngoc Pham Ph.D.
  • Joan Perreault, Business Innovation Fellow, IALS Business Innovation Fellow, UMass Amherst
  • Janhavi Phadkar, Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Sciences, UMass Amherst
  • Anna Roto Cataldo RD, MS, MPH, Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University
  • Sharvik Shirodkar, Senior Research Associate
  • Navsharan Singh, Boston University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Dr. Mythili Tummalapalli, Boston University Questrom School of Business
  • Luke Verghese, Consultant, Project Associate, Halloran Consulting Group
  • Jiahe Wang, MS Candidate, Nutrition and Metabolism, Boston University School of Medicine
  • Hannah Yee, Consultant, Organizational Solutions, Halloran Consulting Group

If you have tools or resources to provide:
Partner with MassBioDrive to support our cohorts. From consulting services and access to a technology to space or prizes, startups can benefit from all different types of resources. If you have something to share and would like to get involved, learn more about sponsorship opportunities and reach out to our team.