MassCONNECT startups gain unique access to clinicians through Brigham Research Institute partnership

Jun 02, 2016

June 2nd, 2016 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – MassBio’s MassCONNECT entrepreneurs will have access to clinicians and researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital thanks to a new partnership with the Brigham Research Institute (BRI).

Through the collaboration, the BRI connects expert clinicians and researchers to participants in MassCONNECT, the only entrepreneur mentorship program in Massachusetts that dives deep into the life sciences.

MassBio’s MassCONNECT program involves a two-month mentorship process 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 digital health. Entrepreneurs gain invaluable advice and coaching on defining value proposition, developing pitches and building professional networks.  

These entrepreneurs often need additional clinical insights to successfully translate their products and services, explained Anu Swaminathan, PhD, director of scientific programs and partnerships at the BRI. The BRI and MassBio aim to accomplish this by pairing MassCONNECT entrepreneurs with experts at BWH who can help them identify and fill any relevant gaps and accelerate their progress into the market.

“Clinical expertise is the component that we can provide. There’s a lot that entrepreneurs can gain from relationships with our clinicians here, and vice versa,” Swaminathan said. “It truly reflects the value we can offer to the products and services that will define the future of clinical care.”

“We are pleased and honored to formally announce a partnership/collaboration that unites the strengths of both institutions,” said John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer of MassBio. “The BRI and MassBio recognize that collaboration will help to accelerate our shared mission and passion to help entrepreneurs translate ideas into solutions that will create a positive impact for patients and the healthcare system.”

“In addition to access to excellent business and scientific mentors through MassCONNECT, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the pilot program of the BWH-MassCONNECT partnership that allowed us to interact with and collaborate with clinical experts,” said Rathi Srinivas, a co-founder of Novopyxis, a MassCONNECT startup developing a device that could deliver medication through the skin without injections. Novopyxis was paired with Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPH, an attending physician in BWH’s Department of Dermatology, who immediately recognized a potential application for the device. Dr. Mostaghimi volunteered his time to consult with the engineers at Novopyxis to refine the prototype’s design so that it would better meet the needs of dermatologists. Kathie Huang, MD, co-director of the Hair Loss Clinic, and Alexander Lin, PhD, director of the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy, also provided guidance.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure our technology is something clinicians would want to use,” said Madhavi Gavini, another Novopyxis co-founder. “On the engineering side, we can absolutely build a device, but that doesn’t mean it’ll integrate easily with their workflow.”

Read more from MassCONNECT graduates Novopyxis and how they benefitted from the MassBio-BRI collaboration.

MassCONNECT startups Lumio Health and PanTher Therapeutics were also advised by BWH clinicians.

The MassCONNECT program runs three cycles per year and applications are considered on a rolling basis. Learn more at

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