June 8, 2020 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – Last week, MassBio®’s MassCONNECT®, the only mentoring program in Massachusetts that is solely dedicated to serving the needs of early-stage entrepreneurs in the life sciences, launched its second mentorship cycle of 2020 with an opening showcase. During the event, the four selected life sciences startups presented their ideas to a room of industry veterans and prospective mentors for early feedback. Each of these startups illustrate the innovation cultivated in Massachusetts, as shown by their focus on developing molecular diagnostics tests to predict hyperprogressive disease (HPD) in patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors; protein regulation for drug discovery; treatments for iron overload in a number of blood disorders; and an oral pill to provide acute symptomatic relief to flare-ups of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Evaluate is an in-kind sponsor of this MassCONNECT cycle.
“Evaluate is delighted to support the innovators of the MassCONNECT program,” said Deborah Kobewka, CEO of Evaluate Ltd. “The life science industry relies on new ideas and approaches to deliver improved options for patients, and we look forward to providing the market insights that will help these life sciences entrepreneurs achieve their full potential.”
Following this week’s showcase, entrepreneurs will be paired with a team of mentors, based on their individual objectives and needs, for eight weeks of hands-on coaching as they seek to develop business plans, launch companies and raise capital. The startups will then present in front of potential investors and partners.
All startups participating in this cycle were founded/cofounded by women. The applicants chosen for mentorship are:
Co-founders: Andrey Khmelevskiy, Eng., MSc; Anna Kostikova, MSc., PhD
Asylia Diagnostics is developing molecular diagnostics tests to predict hyperprogressive disease (HPD) in patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors. Their AI platform and knowledge base for discovery and development of molecular biomarkers allows predicting safety risks for all solid tumors targeted by immunotherapy.
Co-founders: Jon Hu, MBA; Samantha Dale Strasser, PhD
Celata Bioinnovations is a protein regulation company for drug discovery. Their AI platform uses proprietary data from global, multi-omic measurements, including post-translational modifications, to create and select drugs for untreatable diseases.
Founder: Maura Lane Warner, MBA
Sidereal Therapeutics is a preclinical stage biotechnology company developing treatments for iron overload in a number of blood disorders.
Co-founders: Ben Davies, PhD; Victoria Campbell, PhD
Vacuum Therapeutics is developing an oral pill to provide acute symptomatic relief to flare-ups of Irritable Bowel Syndrome triggered by food.
“The quality and potential of these entrepreneurs reinforce that the MA cluster is a fertile source of innovation,” said John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer at MassBio. “We welcome Anna, Andrey, Maura, Victoria, Ben, Samantha, and Jon into the MassCONNECT community and are pleased to partner with Evaluate and the MassCONNECT mentors to accelerate their progress and help them build the next generation of life sciences companies in Massachusetts”
To learn more about the MassCONNECT program, please visit: https://www.massbio.org/innovation-services/massconnect/.
MassBio’s MassCONNECT program is the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences. MassCONNECT matches entrepreneurs and founders with seasoned life sciences professionals to catalyze and commercialize innovation. The MassCONNECT process involves a two-month mentorship where industry experts guide entrepreneurs as they seek to develop business plans, launch companies, and raise capital. MassCONNECT mentors evaluate and provide feedback on commercial feasibility; identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; and team up to furnish industry-specific business advice for innovative ideas in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and health IT. Entrepreneurs gain invaluable advice and coaching on defining value proposition, developing pitches and building professional networks. For more information, or to apply to be a mentor, mentee or MBA project manager, visit https://www.massbio.org/innovation-services/massconnect/.