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How will your research impact patients?

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! 

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 2017:

  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 will be free for all participants.

Part 1: 25+ lecture/workshop series (1/17-1/27 5-8pm) 

Biotech executives (CEO, CSO), venture capitalists, and successful entrepreneurs will teach students about the fundamentals of commercializing research and biotech startups in 25 lectures (roughly 3 per day).

We will also provide 10 interactive workshops to apply concepts from the lectures. For a list of topics and confirmed speakers, see below.

Dinner will be provided free thanks to our course sponsors.

Part 2: teams develop commercial application proposals (1/30-2/10)

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 Commercial Application Proposal (CAP). Teams will refine their CAP with input from a coach with relevant expertise, a local VC or biopharma BD professional.

At the end of the two weeks, teams will present their CAP at a “CAP Clinic” 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 (September – October 2016), and 15 research projects will be accepted for the course.

To submit your project 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 entirely at the "black box" level. 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 discovered a novel target in triple-negative breast cancer, and this target is accessible to a small molecule, that information alone is enough for us to help you think through target commercial applications!

For more details on project submission see below. 


Dates and Times

Lectures (Weeks 1-2)

Jan 17-20 + 23-27

5:00 - 8:00pm daily

CAP Project (Weeks 3-4)

Jan 30 - Feb 15

CAP Feedback Clinic

Feb 16



Broad Institute

415 Main Street
Cambridge, MA


Leaders shaping the future of biomedicine, including CEOs, CSOs, VCs, and other industry experts.

Teaching the basics of biotech startups, and how to commercialize biomedical research.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Krishna Yeshwant (Google Ventures)

  • David Altshuler (CSO, Vertex)

  • Paulina Hill (Polaris Partners)

  • Chris Adams (CEO, Cydan)

  • David Grayzel (Atlas Ventures)

  • Robert Millman (CEO, Semma)

  • Lou Tartaglia (5AM Ventures)

And many others


Applications have closed for our January 2017 course.

Applicants will be informed of their application status by 11/14.

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, but you don't know what to do other than publish.


For example:

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 10/15/2016


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

Deadline 10/30/2016

If your research project is accepted for the course:

Prior to the beginning of the course on January 17th 2017, 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 free short course for trainees launching in January 2017 (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 postdocs, PhD students, and MBA students responsible for building this course, and includes:

Scott Goldman VMD, PhD, Director of OperationsScott is an Associate Director of Operations in the Project Planning and Execution Office at the Broad, where he manages internal operations tied to a corporate-sponsored research partnership.  He also serves as the Chair of the Broad's IACUC committee, a member of the Project Management Planning Committee, and is involved in a number of enterprise-wise improvement efforts.  He received his PhD in molecular pharmacology from Rutgers/UMDNJ and his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Monica Stanciu PhD, Director of Information Systems: Monica is a graduate student in the Lees lab at the Koch Institute. She recently defended her thesis, which was centered on studying new therapeutic targets for brain tumors. Outside of the lab, she is exploring her interest in healthcare entrepreneurship through different campus groups and courses. 

Xiaobo Ke PhD, Director of Curricular Design: Xiaobo is a postdoctoral scholar at the microbiome hub at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Mentored by Dr. Ramnik Xavier at the Broad Institute, he uses human microbiome data to understand the functional relationship between gut microbes and inflammatory bowel disease. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, where he studied bacterial cell-cell communication as an HHMI International Student Research Fellow. Outside lab, he volunteers to consult for local non-profit organizations and startups. He also enjoys hiking and ethnic cuisines. 

Tony Kulesa, Director of CommunicationsTony is a PhD student at the Broad Institute and MIT Biological Engineering working with Paul Blainey to develop new tools for antibiotic discovery and microbiology. Outside the lab, he helps lead the MIT Biotech Group, edits the biotech startup blog Synapse, and served four years as a Writing Fellow in the MIT Communication Lab

Nerea Eceiza, Director of Business RelationsNerea is an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to MIT Sloan, she worked as a management consultant in Europe, consulting for global pharmaceutical companies and private equity firms, among others. Nerea studied Mechanical Engineering in Spain and the UK.

Diego Borges, Director of Academic Relations: Diego is a graduate student in Richard Young's Lab at the Whitehead institute. Currently he is working on the 3D folding of the genome and how it is perturbed by genetic variation eventually leading to disease. His expertise lies in Computer Science and Biology especially in layering biological concepts on large databases. He received his B.S. in Computational Biology from CMU. He has worked in the Broad Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and many other disease oriented research settings.

Jason Ruth PhD, Course Director: Jason is a postdoc in Levi Garraway's lab at the Broad Institute and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He volunteers with the rare disease research organization Castleman Disease Collaborative Network as a Scientific Advisory Board member, and as Chief Scientific Officer. He received his PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania as an HHMI Interfaces Fellow. Please contact Jason with any questions about the course: jruth (at)


Our Steering Committee includes: Issi Rosen (Broad Institute, Chief Business Officer), Samantha Singer (Broad Institute, Chief Operating Officer), David Sabatini MD, PhD (Whitehead Institute, MIT professor, HHMI), Lauren Foster D.Sc. (Koch Institute, Director of Technology Licensing Office), and Jack Milwid PhD (Flagship Ventures).

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