Trainees who are thinking about translating their regenerative medicine research or technology into a product or venture are invited to take their first steps toward entrepreneurship with Building a Biotech Venture.

This new program for trainees in Medicine by Design-funded labs, offered in partnership with the Health Innovation Hub (H2i), a campus-linked accelerator at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at U of T, kicks-off on Tues, Jan. 26 with an information session that will provide an overview of the program.

Trainees chat at a Medicine by Design event

Building a Biotech Venture will help trainees in Medicine by Design-funded labs take the first steps toward entrepreneurship. (Photo by Neil Ta)

Building a Biotech Venture will continue with a workshop and mentorship for the ventures throughout the winter and spring and culminate with a pitch competition, where the winning team will receive up to $25,000 in funding to advance their product or venture concept.

“We are excited to partner with H2i to offer Building a Biotech Venture as part of our commitment to ensuring Medicine by Design trainees have opportunities to develop the skills they need to translate their research into innovative products and companies,” says Allison Brown, Director, Strategy & Translation, at Medicine by Design. “This program is uniquely positioned to help the next generation of regenerative medicine researchers and entrepreneurs successfully build a concept into a tangible business opportunity, with mentorship and education every step of the way.”

Brown adds, “We expect a range of starting points from participants – from those that are already working in a team on a venture concept, to those with an early idea and keen interest in advancing that idea toward a compelling business opportunity and this is something that H2i has experience with.”

One of the main goals of Building a Biotech Venture is to prepare Medicine by Design teams to be successful in more advanced incubators like the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), another Medicine by Design partner, and to be ready to participate in CDL’s Health Stream which will connect them with investors and venture funding opportunities.

In addition, this program will develop the entrepreneurial talent that is in high demand within Toronto’s booming biotech ecosystem. And the program accelerates Medicine by Design’s strategic goal of bridging a critical gap between the early-stage transformational research that Medicine by Design funds and company creation.

Trainees who go through the program will build their idea into a tangible product concept. They will gain skills in thinking about research in terms of a product or business, developing a product or company “story,” and learning to communicate effectively by building a business case and pitch deck. Trainees will form teams as the program progresses and will receive mentoring and guidance from industry experts throughout the process.

H2i is well-positioned to partner with Medicine by Design in offering this trainee-geared program because H2i has a track record of success in supporting health-centric companies. Also, H2i’s mission focuses on early-stage entrepreneurs.

“We are looking forward to working with Medicine by Design-funded trainees to provide education, mentoring and support,” says Paul Santerre, director of H2i and a professor at the Faculty of Dentistry and the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at U of T. “Since its inception in 2013, H2i has supported over 250 companies from more than 15 faculties across all three U of T campuses, and now carries a portfolio of approximately 130 active companies, who created more than $45 million in economic value in 2019-20. We’re excited to help Medicine by Design trainees take their ideas to the next level.”

The information session on Jan. 26 will be the first step for trainees who would like to participate in the program. This session will give an overview of the program, and an introduction to some of the concepts in H2i’s program, including 10 key elements of H2i’s business canvas. It will also explain the process of forming a team, which Medicine by Design will help to facilitate.

Following the session, on March 2, is a hands-on workshop that will further expand on H21’s 10-Point Plan for their own ventures, as well as provide support to trainees with developing company concept overviews and pitch decks. Teams will also be matched with H2i mentors relevant to their stage of development and industry sector, who will provide ongoing support leading up to the pitch competition in the spring and beyond as H2i supported ventures.

Register for the information session on Jan. 26, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.  For program inquiries, e-mail Stephanie Hume, Medicine by Design’s Scientific Manager.