On Thursday, July 14th, MassBio kicked off its summer cycle of the MassCONNECT life sciences entrepreneur mentorship program with a Technology Showcase. At the Showcase, entrepreneurs from each of four selected startups presented their technologies to an audience of industry veterans, serial CEOs and other experts in the biotech community. Among the companies selected are technologies that 3D print vascularized human tissue, that noninvasively diagnose brain disorders, that aim to cure metastatic cancers, and that hope to revolutionize recruitment for clinical trials.
Over the next eight to ten weeks, VasT Bio, BrainSpec, Chestnut Pharma, and Xperii will have weekly meetings with their customized advisory boards, assembled by Anna Christo, the Manager of Innovation Services here at MassBio. Companies will seek advice on topics such as which markets to penetrate first, how to polish their investor pitches, and which clinical applications of their technologies are feasible, to name a few.
Pepper-Hamilton LLP is generously sponsoring this cycle, providing two attorneys per team offering advice on IP and corporate legal strategy. Additionally, MassCONNECT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have recently partnered to provide access to clinical advisors on an ad hoc basis throughout the cycle.
With its network of approximately 200 veteran mentors from the life sciences cluster, MassCONNECT can curate advisory teams to ensure that each company gets as complete of a picture as possible of the current landscape of their specific industry. All of the startups selected to participate in the program are experts in their respective technologies, but many of them do not have a traditional business background. As such, one of the biggest aims of MassCONNECT is to equip mentees with the business skillset required to take their companies from the lab to the market. The mentor teams, therefore, consist of experts with a variety of backgrounds, ranging from business development executives to IP lawyers, and scientists, there to help the young companies navigate the specific markets relevant to their product or service.
Each team also works with a project manager, typically an MBA student, who facilitates conversation between the company and the board of mentors, and assists with background research. Many of these project managers have dual business and life sciences backgrounds and are eager to participate in the program as it provides them with a unique opportunity to learn from experience in both areas.
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To learn more about these companies, read the full press release.