Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship
The Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship offers Harvard Business School alumni and Harvard-affiliated postdocs the opportunity to create new ventures around promising life-science technologies while developing their leadership talents.
Supporting Blavatnik Fellows in their pursuit of successful enterprise creation, the program provides practical materials for entrepreneurship—time, working space, operating funds—with access to strategic resources—mentorship, workshops, and fireside chats, with industry experts.
The Blavatnik Fellowship is led by faculty chair Peter Barrett, PhD. The members of the Key Advisory Board, leading industry and biomedical authorities, provide programmatic guidance as well as one-on-one mentorship to Blavatnik Fellows. The Blavatnik Entrepreneurship Network, a consortium of top business and science leaders, provides Fellows additional mentorship channels.
Ideal candidates are MBA alumni of Harvard Business School who have graduated within the last 7–10 years, or post-doctoral candidates within the first 5 years of their training program at a Harvard program or research lab. The program is a full-time, salaried, residential fellowship. As such, Blavatnik Fellows are expected to reside in the Boston area, are eligible to enroll in a range of Harvard employee benefits, and receive work space at the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab.
How to apply
Five Years of Thinking Big
By bringing together expertise and experience from across Harvard, the Accelerator and the HBS Fellows program will further enhance Harvard’s commitment to innovative research and entrepreneurship.
Dean Nitin Nohria
Harvard Business School
Sophie Bai (MBA 2020) is the founder and CEO of a biotech company using novel transdermal drug delivery technologies to get large molecules into the skin. She has been passionate about life sciences since she was a teenager. At the age of 16, she discovered an anti-aging compound and got a minor planet (Planet No.25045) named after her to recognize her scientific discovery. Formerly, Sophie worked with Professor Robert Langer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on various drug delivery technologies to cure prostate cancer, lung cancer, and Type I Diabetes. Bai also worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Bain Capital Private Equity, focusing on healthcare and life science investing, operations, and strategies. She serves on the board of Old Silver Venture Capital, a biotech and material science-based investment firm and holds advisory roles at various biotech companies including XtalPi, the leading drug discovery company using artificial intelligence. Sophie received her BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT and MBA from HBS.
Paul Casinelli (MBA 2020) is passionate about identifying exciting ideas and bringing them to market. He has deep experience in the technology industry and has held senior positions overseeing product management, go-to-market and corporate strategy in startups and publicly traded companies including Brightcove where he led a team as the vice president of product marketing and Strategy. During his Fellowship year, Paul plans to build the foundation for a promising new therapeutic option for those suffering from ALS. His interest in ALS originated when his aunt was diagnosed with the disease and became a candidate for a novel immune cell therapy. Currently, he is working with the scientific team from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) on an immune cell therapy that treats neurodegenerative disease, specifically ALS. Paul has a BA with high honors in Political Science from Boston College and an MBA from HBS.
Gregory Ekchian (PhD) is an entrepreneur, engineer, and innovator, and the first Harvard-affiliated postdoc selected as a Blavatnik Fellow. He has spent his career at the interface of academic research and life science start-ups, creating and translating novel technologies from the lab to patients. His doctoral research in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, focused on the development and first-in-human evaluation of a novel oxygen sensor. In recognition of his work, he was named to the 2020 MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 list. As the cofounder and CEO of Stratagen Bio, Greg is developing and translating a suite of novel oxygen sensors into the clinic to personalize treatments across a wide range of clinical indications. Stratagen Bio was recently accepted to join the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab and plans to take residency in 2021. Greg is passionate about empowering young entrepreneurs through active mentorship and has created resources to assist others in translating innovations from academia. Greg holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and an MEng and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT.
Zack Morrison (MBA 2020) is an entrepreneur and engineer with a passion for bringing breakthrough products to market. As a Blavatnik Fellow, Zack plans to develop sensing technologies for surgical applications. Prior to business school, he worked as a design engineer and engineering manager for biotech and medical device companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, he worked at Auris Health where he developed instruments for robotic surgery. Zack holds multiple patents for medical devices and is a recipient of the Kaplan Fellowship for excellence in the life sciences and the Robert F. Jasse Award for entrepreneurship. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and an MBA from HBS.
Carlos Rodriguez (MBA 2017) is focused on digitizing biomanufacturing. He brings diverse experience in business development, corporate strategy, technical operations, and finance. During his Fellowship year, Carlos will explore how artificial intelligence and automation can transform traditional methods of fermentation and cell culture. The results could improve the manufacturing of microbial-based treatments and gene and cell therapies for patients affected by cancer, inflammation, autoimmunity, and rare diseases. Most recently, he gained entrepreneurial experience as a director at Evelo Biosciences, a biotechnology company founded by Flagship Pioneering. Earlier in his career, he advised healthcare companies as an investment banker and as a strategy consultant. Carlos was named Credit Suisse MBA Fellow, Flare Capital MBA Scholar, and Rock Health Research Fellow. He is currently a mentor with NEVCA’s Hack.Diversity program for aspiring technology professionals. He earned an AB in economics from Princeton University and an MBA from HBS.
Peter Barrett, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, where he teaches Commercializing Science to second year MBA students and directs the Blavatnik Fellowship program.
In addition to his work at Harvard, Peter is a Partner at Atlas Venture, an early stage life science venture capital firm. Since 2002, Peter has been involved in the creation of several novel therapeutic and drug discovery platform companies. Prior to Atlas he was co-founder, executive vice president, and chief business officer of Celera Genomics, and held senior management positions at Applera. Peter is currently chairman of Obsidian Therapeutics, Zafgen, Cadent Therapeutics, and Synlogic and sits on the boards of Indalo and Perkin Elmer.
Peter received a BS in chemistry from Lowell Technological Institute (now known as the University of Massachusetts, Lowell) and a PhD in analytical chemistry from Northeastern University. He also completed Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.