Testimonial

Nicholas Kwiatkowski of Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Lead Scientist, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Um8zoj4kp8lw7xspq2ux

...when I left, armed with the knowledge and connections gained, I felt empowered and determined to find ways of commercializing my science.

In November 2016, I had the good fortune of being picked along with other DFCI colleagues to attend the inaugural IBE entrepreneurship seminar. I really had no idea what to expect going into the experience, as I had never attended such an event. But when I left, armed with the knowledge and connections gained, I felt empowered and determined to find ways of commercializing my science.

The syllabus:
The 5-day interactive seminar walked us through the process of starting a company. We discussed topics spanning everything from “how to test your idea and develop a team” to “developing a business plan” and “how to structure licensing deals”. These basic concepts and principles were expanded upon through lectures from industry that gave their own testimonials detailing how they navigated these challenges in their own work. The subject matter was surprisingly interesting and extremely well presented, fostering a lot of vigorous debate and discussion. The layout of the lectures provided an excellent top to bottom view of what goes into commercializing a product and starting a company. As a complete business novice who trembled at the mere thought of starting the commercialization process, the information was incredibly accessible and gave me a roadmap for pursuing my commercialization goals. Additionally, understanding that a good team is an essential element to building a company we did leadership and teamwork exercises and received behavioral and leadership assessments. All of which were invaluable to evaluating my own leadership style and understanding my own strengths and weaknesses.

The people:
The organizers and guest lecturers were all top-notch. Curtis Sprouse and Gregg Fairbrothers worked tirelessly to bring in the best industry minds to talk to us. Curtis’s lectures on teamwork, leadership, and behavioral dynamics were incredibly informative and inspiringly. He is an amazing speaker and able to make an immediate connection with his audience. Gregg is just fantastic. His lectures on business plans and financing were great, and his ability to engage the audience on these often dry and highly technical topics is a testament to his skill and a product of the depth of his experiences. The industry leaders came from all corners of science and medicine including MDs, academic technology transfer officials, pharmaceutical scientists and leaders, and biotechnology CEOs. Their testimonials dove-tailed nicely with the lectures, providing accounts of how these business and science challenges have been tackled in real world business situations.

The proposal:
Just as valuable as receiving that information was the opportunity to put it into practice. As part of the program you get to take your own research, the research of others, or a random idea and “build” a company around it. During the five days you’re given opportunities to build teams with other participants and work on formulating ideas, business plans, and companies.