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IDEA to IPO talk series: “How good is your idea”

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Dr. Nathaniel Hafer is the Director of Operations for the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) and an Assistant Professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine, UMass Chan Medical School.

In our e-Club- IDEA to IPO talk series (on 23 June 2021), Dr. Hafer explained UMCCTS vision for improving health and health care delivery by advancing the translational research at UMASS. Biomedical researchers are highly skilled in developing technologies, new discoveries, and innovations which have potential to develop into brilliant business ideas. Then again, for the launch of a successful startup based on one of these ideas requires right kind of mentorship, good business development plan, strong networking, necessary funding by investors, access to office/ lab space, and regulatory supports. Dr. Hafer explained to e-Club audience about how UMCCTS assists biomedical researchers in workforce and business development plans for their business ideas. UMCCTS offers a space, affordable resources and helps to navigate potential research, educate about funding opportunities and regulatory affairs for startups. UMCCTS also facilitates the multi-investigator inter-campus collaborative projects oriented towards clinical and translational research.

Further, Dr. Hafer spoke about early-stage NIH financing programs such as SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) for innovative small companies in the USA. Good thing about this kind of funding is that they are not required to repaid and intellectual property rights are retained by the business owners/awardees. Besides NIH provides technical assistance to advance commercialized technologies for public benefits. However, this is very competitive and the proposed business projects undergo rigorous scientific peer review process. If your business idea is selected for SBIR or STTR, this will further benefit you by attracting more investigators.

In addition, e-Club audience learnt about I-Corps Program at UMASS; a short course at the UMCCTS and specifically designed to educate the bio-medical professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs about business model generation and technology development process. As any startup begins from conception of a business idea, which goes into initial phases of screenings, and validation of its viability before it enters business operation that is scalable and marketable. I-Corps course introduces you to these processes and serves as a pre-cursor to more intense courses run by the NIH, and NSF. In short,  this course provides an early-stage training, and strategic guidance to students, post-docs, staff members, and faculties at UMASS during the idea generation phase and its conceptualization for technology development and startup.     

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