Forbes just released its 2018 edition of 30 Under 30, what it refers to as its “annual encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different industries.” You can imagine our incredible delight to see THREE MassCONNECT grads on the 30 Under 30 in Healthcare. For those who aren’t familiar with MassCONNECT, it’s a two-month mentorship program run by MassBio that matches entrepreneurs with seasoned life sciences professionals to catalyze and commercialize innovation.
Sourav Sinha, cofounder of Oncolinx, went through MassCONNECT in the fall of 2014. Oncolinx is redefining the paradigm of cancer therapy by developing the next generation of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs)—powerful, targeted cancer therapies that are more effective and have dramatically fewer side effects than current methods of cancer treatment.
Sol Chen and Evan Ehrenberg, cofounders of Clara Health (formerly called Xperii), went through MassCONNECT in the summer of 2016. Clara Health’s platform accelerates clinical trial recruitment timelines by making it easy for qualified candidates to enroll in clinical trials, even if they aren’t a patient at one of the active hospital sites. The platform streamlines the entire trial enrollment process for patients, using their health data to find matching trials, and hands on assistance to make enrolling frictionless.
Giffin Daughtridge, cofounder of UrSure, went through MassCONNECT in the fall of 2016. UrSure produces urine tests for the medication PrEP. PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV infections in non-infected individuals if taken daily. UrSure’s point-of-care urine tests are noninvasive and painless and are cheaper, more accurate and have a faster turnaround time than alternative PrEP tests.
There is so much amazing innovation coming out of Massachusetts hospitals and universities, and it’s critical that both the public and private sectors support this research to help bring new groundbreaking therapies to patients. Although our annual Industry Snapshot found that venture capital investment in the biopharma industry in Massachusetts reached a record $2.9 billion last year, it also found that this funding is going to fewer companies.
Programs like MassCONNECT help smaller scale startups secure the funding and business acumen they need to bring their products to market. And new programs like the recently announced MassNextGen, a five-year, $1 million initiative that will fund and support life sciences startups run or controlled by women (thank you Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and Takeda Pharmaceuticals!), are invaluable to ensuring Massachusetts remains home to the #1 life sciences cluster in the world.
To learn more about MassCONNECT, visit: https://www.massbio.org/discover/massconnect