Entrepreneurship Course Developed by UCSF for Life Scientists Launched by NIH
NIH adopts successful NSF I-Corps model to translate research for commercialization
By Laura Kurtzman
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a pilot program to help life science entrepreneurs commercialize their technology, based on a course developed by the University of California, San Francisco. The course was first taught last fall by the UCSF Center for Entrepreneurship and Steve Blank, architect of the Lean LaunchPad framework. UCSF and Blank have adapted the Lean LaunchPad methodology to be applicable to life sciences and healthcare companies.
Lean LaunchPad has begun to replace traditional business plan-based courses as the foundation for entrepreneurship education. First implemented at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, the framework is now taught at more than 100 universities and has become the National Science Foundation (NSF) standard for commercializing science through to its I-Corps program, which has trained more than 300 teams over the past three years. Teams survey at least 100 market participants during the course to understand how the trading market perceives the value of their science.
This 20-team pilot course is offered through a collaboration between the NSF I-Corps and the NIH to help NIH-funded researchers assess the commercial potential of their companies.
UCSF Entrepreneurship Center Director Stephanie Marrus, who implemented the life sciences version of the course with Blank at UCSF, said, “We are thrilled that the NIH recognizes the value of Lean. LaunchPad in the field of life sciences and has adopted our course and our faculty. We anticipate that Lean LaunchPad at NIH will have the same major impact on startup teams that we saw at UCSF last fall. We believe this market-based approach to vetting startup ideas can mean the difference between success and failure.
The first I-Corps @NIH cohort includes life science and healthcare teams focused on therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices. Each team is a funded company that has received an NIH SBIR Phase 1 or STTR grant.
The UCSF Entrepreneurship Center provides the knowledge, support, and connections scientists and clinicians need to become entrepreneurs. The Center seeks to create an innovation community and commercialize UCSF inventions through startups. Our entrepreneurial ecosystem includes the business community of Silicon Valley, Berkeley and Stanford.
UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical school, UCSF is dedicated to transforming global health through advanced biomedical research, higher education in the life sciences and the professions. health and excellence in patient care. It includes the best graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-class programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise, and leading hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.