Historically, medical schools have struggled to help budding scientists bridge the abyss between research and commercialization. The prevailing wisdom has been that scientists should be scientists, and entrepreneurs should be entrepreneurs. But NYU School of Medicine is turning that convention on its head, to the benefit of researchers and patients alike.
The innovative Biomedical Entrepreneurship Program—developed by Robert J. Schneider, PhD, associate dean for therapeutics alliances at NYU Langone Health, and his colleague, program director Michal Gilon-Yanai—provides a thorough education for postdocs and PhD students in how to commercialize and license their work. “It surprises people, but entrepreneurship is something you can teach,” says Dr. Schneider.
The yearlong program is designed to impart the skills and knowledge required to launch a successful new venture in the biomedical industry, explains Gilon-Yanai. In the fall, courses introduce participants to market research and business planning, using relevant case studies, and review the experiences of successful entrepreneurs. In the spring, project-based training helps students commercialize technologies that emerge from their own labs or are currently being patented by NYU Langone Health.
“By teaching entrepreneurship, we’re enabling PhDs, postdocs, and others to effectively transmit their ideas, get others excited, and have an impact on health,” says Gilon-Yanai. “That’s really what entrepreneurship is all about.”