HBS Names Blavatnik Fellows in Life Science Entrepreneurship
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Harvard Business School has announced five recipients of this year’s Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship, a fellowship that HBS has had in place since 2013 to support alums’ ventures in the life sciences.
The Blavatnik Fellowship is so named because it was established with a gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and Len Blavatnik, an alum from HBS’s MBA Class of 1989.
The fellowship offers resources, support and networking opportunities to HBS alumni who have graduated in the last decade. As of 2020, it has also begun accepting applications from post-doctoral researchers at Harvard.
This year’s five recipients include three from HBS’s MBA Class of 2020.
Sophie Bai is the founder and CEO of a biotech focused on new transdermal drug methods for large molecules. Paul Casinelli is developing a new therapy for people diagnosed with ALS. And Zack Morrison intends to use the fellowship to work on sensing technologies that can be used in surgery.
There is also an alum for HBS’s MBA Class of 2017 among the recipients, Carlos Rodriguez. He is interested in exploring applications of artificial intelligence in cell culture.
Finally, Gregory Ekchian, who received his PhD from MIT in 2018, has been working with Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital on a new type of oxygen sensor.
That sensor is forming the basis for several treatments being developed by Stratagen Bio, for which Ekchian is founder and CEO.
Peter Barrett, the faculty chair of the fellowship, pointed out that the need to support emerging life science technologies is evident now more than ever.
As he put it, “Science moves at a deliberate pace but COVID-19 is changing that paradigm in an effort to end the pandemic. When entrepreneurs and scientists collaborate, the path to discoveries and commercialization expeditiously moves towards treatments and vaccines to save lives.”
In that context, he highlighted how it is “important to prepare entrepreneurs to lead during challenging times.”
This kind of institutional support highlights some of the advantages that attending a top MBA program like HBS’s offers for entrepreneurs – advantages that, in the case of the Blavatnik Fellowship, do not expire on graduation but extend to alums.
Granted, those advantages are also what make admission to MBA programs like HBS’s highly competitive.
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