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Applications for 2019 are now closed

Target audience:

We have support for the following researchers (Phd, Postdoc, MD) and MBA students affiliated with following institutions to take the course: 

  • MIT Dept of Biology

  • MIT Dept of Biological Engineering

  • Broad Institute

  • Koch Institute

  • Whitehead Institute

  • MIT Sloan

  • Harvard Business School

If you are not affiliated with these institutions but would like to take the course, please contact us (,, 

You can apply to the course both with or without a project, see more details below. 

Course objectives:

How does biomedical research impact patients? In this course, we aim to teach students how science is translated into therapeutics and medical devices, particularly through startups. 

Example questions we hope to answer in the course: 

  • What makes my science investable?

  • How do I define a clinical/market need and target product profile?

  • How do I plan a preclinical and clinical development path?

  • How do I raise capital?

Participants will come away from the course understanding: 
1) The path from academic research project → commercial application → startup,
2) The function and organization of life science startups
3) The next steps they can take to advance their idea after the course


Our course is broken up into 2 parts over 4 weeks in January and February 2019:

  1. a lecture/workshop series

  2. a period for teams work independently to develop a plan for translating a real research project from one of the scientists on the team

The course will accept 60 students, and is free for all participants.

Part 1: 9 day lecture/workshop series (3 days/week 1/15-1/31 5:30-8:30pm) 

Biotech executives (CEO, CSO), venture capitalists, and successful entrepreneurs will teach students about the fundamentals of commercializing research and biotech startups in 20 lectures (roughly 2 per day).

For a list of topics and speakers from previous years, see below.

Dinner will be provided free thanks to our course sponsors.

Part 2: teams develop commercial application proposals (2/1-2/15)

To apply the concepts taught in the lectures, students will have the chance to develop commercial applications around real research projects provided by the scientists in the class. 

Students will form 15 teams, each around a different research project, to develop a develop a pitch with coaching from local VC or biopharma BD professional.

At the end of the two weeks, teams will present their pitch to a panel of coaches, in order to receive feedback on commercialization.

How can I use my research project during Part 2? 

Research projects will be proposed by students during the initial application process (October 2018). 

To submit a project related to your PhD or postdoctoral research to the course, you must complete the following

  • notify and obtain support from your PI

  • speak to your technology licensing office

To be useful in the course, projects can be discussed as a "black box". Our goal is to teach you how to evaluate the translational opportunity not the science! 

What does "black box" mean? 

Black box means providing enough information to gauge the relevant market opportunity, but strictly limiting information that would enable others. Please speak with your technology licensing office to help you identify what information would be considered "enabling." 

For example, if you have invented a drug delivery method, it's more important what you can deliver and to where, but not how. That information alone is enough for us to help you think through target commercial applications!

For more details, please email,, or


Dates and Times

Information Session

Wed 9/26

5:00 - 7:00 pm


(9 days over 3 weeks)

1/15 - 1/31

5:30 - 8:30pm, T,W,Th

Pitch Day

2/13, 5:30-8:30pm


Broad Institute

415 Main Street
Cambridge, MA


Applications are open for our Jan 2019 course. Projects are due by 10/26. All other applications are due by 11/02. Apply here. 

Applicants will be informed of their application status by mid November. 

What does it mean to submit a research project with your application?

During the course, you will work on a team to develop a Commercial Application Proposal (CAP) for a real research project. If you are currently working on research that could be a good candidate for commercialization, and you would like to learn what it would take to commercialize your research, we encourage you to submit a research project as part of your application.

Each team will work a with coach from VC or Biopharma BD to develop their CAP. At the end of the course, each team will present their CAP for feedback from a panel of coaches at a Feedback Clinic.

To prevent legal disclosure of ideas that are not yet patented, we ask that during both the application process, and during the course, you treat your idea like a 'black box.' This means that you can discuss what you want the idea to do, data showing how good your idea is compared to a control, and your big picture vision for the commercial application, but you should not discuss how it works, the molecular target you're going after, etc. This ensures that you can get helpful feedback without disclosing details that you may want to patent (if you haven't done so already).

What is an example of a good project to submit?

A new biological finding or tool or technique that you're really excited about, and you think it could be big if it got beyond the bench. Strong projects will be beyond the 'idea' phase and have moderate to substantial data to supporting the technology. 


Novel dependency or biological insight that could lead to new therapeutics for a disease.

New biological insight that changes the way people think about a disease, and could also have an impact on patients.

New tools or approaches that could lead to discovery of new drugs.

Old drug that could be used for new purpose.

A new algorithm or computational approach for identifying protective genetic variants.

A new platform for X... A new biological insight... A 10x better way of doing Y...


Want to take the class and submit a research project?

Deadline 10/26/2018


Want to take the class and work on someone else's project?

Deadline 11/02/2018

If your research project is accepted for the course:

If you are submitting work related to your PhD or postdoctoral work, prior to the beginning of the course, we will require that you A) receive consent from your PI to include this project in the course, AND B) also to contact your institute-specific TLO and determine whether it is necessary and advisable to sign an invention disclosure form. We can help you figure out who to speak to if you're not sure.

Info for PIs

(For participants, please click here to download a PDF of this info for your PI)

Do you have students or postdocs who are interested in learning about commercialization, biotech, or entrepreneurship?

Would you like to receive feedback on a path to commercialization for an early stage project in your lab from local VCs or biopharma business development professionals?

Biomedical Entrepreneurship, a short course for trainees in January 2019 (during IAP at MIT), seeks to address these needs. To minimize the impact on trainee laboratory work, lectures will be held nearby at the Broad Institute, after regular work hours.

Course description:

The Biomedical Entrepreneurship course will bring in local experts to teach trainees about moving academic research projects to commercialization. To reinforce what they learn, participants will work in teams to create proposals for potential commercial applications of research coming from local labs. Teams will receive mentorship from local business development (BD) or venture capital (VC) experts with experience related to that team’s topic. At the end of the course, teams will present their proposals to panels of local BD or VC experts. Both the team, as well as the PI whose research project is under discussion, will receive actionable feedback on steps to move early stage research toward commercialization.

PI sign-off is required for a trainee to propose bringing their research project to the course.

Disclosure and IP: 

To address concerns around disclosure, we are working closely with TLOs to ensure that all participants are aware of disclosure rules. All researchers submitting a research project are required to meet with TLOs to determine whether it is necessary and advisable to sign an invention disclosure form or file IP, and to ensure that they understand disclosure.

To prevent disclosure but still allow students to get valuable feedback on a commercial application of their work, participants will treat details of their research like a 'black box' and will not discuss specific details of their research at any time, including during the application process, course, team project, or proposal.


Our Team

Our Leadership Team consists of PhD students and postdocs, and MBA students responsible for building this course, and includes:

  • Tony Kulesa

  • Kane Hadley

  • Lizzie Ngo

  • Mimoun Delmar Cadosch

  • Rhonda Shafei

  • Nitasha Bennett

  • Rachit Neupane

  • Boryana Petrova

  • Chensu Wang

  • Robert Plasschaert

Funding generously provided by:

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Whitehead Institute Postdoctoral Association (WIPDA)

Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship

Harvard Business School Healthcare Initiative

MIT Dept of Biology

MIT Dept of Biological Engineering