NEW HAVEN, Conn. and WESTPORT, Conn., Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), with generous support from Canaan Partners, is taking a lead role in preparing life science faculty and grad students for life outside of academia, exposing them to industry experts, investors, biotech entrepreneurs and faculty innovators who can help them navigate career options through the new Business of Biotech seminar series, starting in the fall semester of 2016. The new program expands on the Bioscience Innovation and Business Fundamentals series and the original Business of Biotech started by Constance McKee – CEO of Manzanita Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and supported by the Yale Healthcare and Life Sciences Club (a school of management organization).
"Recent reports detailing trends in the life science workforce are emphasizing the importance of academic-industry partnerships to help students prepare to enter the biotechnology workforce," said Erika R. Smith, Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, who is overseeing the program. "Our Business of Biotech series is designed to introduce commercialization concepts and help the future life science workforce succeed."
Business of Biotech will introduce grad students, postdocs and faculty to the core skills and building blocks to translate their research to the marketplace. There will be three consecutive dates followed by monthly scheduled workshops all held at Alexion featuring guest speakers, hands-on workshops and case studies on topics like tech transfer, FDA approval, life science funding and exits, and medical devices and diagnostics. The initiative was born out of the Medical Product Development course Smith formerly taught at the National Institutes of Health. Canaan Partners, which supports YEI's Canaan-Yale Fellows program, is helping to underwrite the costs.
"We seldom get to make connections with promising science graduate students in the course of business," noted Manuel Litchman, M.D., president and CEO of Arvinas, a New Haven-based biotechnology company. "Opportunities such as those offered by this series allow us to see the most talented, driven students – people who will shape the healthcare industry in the future."
To develop the original Bioscience Innovation and Business Fundamentals series, Anna Chase and Mary Burke, both PhD students at Yale School of Medicine, worked closely with YEI to develop the series and found there was immediate interest, receiving 80-90 applications for 50 spots for the inaugural sessions. Given the strong interest and positive feedback, the new workshops will be open for up to 150 participants and will not require an application.
"The business skills required for pursuing careers in healthcare consulting, venture capital or even in a biotech startup are not built into the science PhD curriculum," said Ms. Burke. "I moved from basic science to clinical research because I want to be closer to the healthcare industry and serve the patient more directly."
Experts invited to participate in the series include Colleen Cuffaro, an Associate at Canaan Partners; Tim Shannon, General Partner at Canaan Partners; Andrey Antov, Program Director of the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative at the Jackson Laboratory; David Harburger from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; Angela Shen, CMO of Arvinas; and Jason Hafler, Senior Director of Investments and Principal at Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures.
"Hiring managers say that skills like collaboration, leadership, team work and effective communication are just as important – if not more important – than technical capabilities," continued Ms. Smith. "Our series introduces those concepts, and gives students an understanding of the myriad paths they can take in their future careers. Many life science graduate programs do not accomplish this in their coursework."
About Canaan Partners
For nearly 30 years, Canaan Partners has been investing in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas to improve the way we live our lives. With offices in Westport, Connecticut, New York City and Menlo, Park California, over $4.2 billion under management and more than 160 exits to date, Canaan has funded some of the world's most innovative companies in both technology and healthcare. For more information, visit us at www.canaan.com and follow us on Twitter @canaanpartners.
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SOURCE Canaan Partners