BOSTON—Harvard Business School (HBS) has named its first class of Blavatnik Fellows in Life Science Entrepreneurship – five outstanding HBS alumni who graduated from the School no more than seven years ago who will work with inventors from Harvard University’s research laboratories to promote the commercialization of important life science-oriented technologies.
The Blavatnik Fellowship Program, which will admit from three to seven exceptional individuals each year through a competitive application process, was created last spring as part of a $50 million gift to Harvard University from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, headed by Len Blavatnik (MBA 1989), to launch a major initiative to expedite via the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator (which identifies and supports early stage, highly promising technologies) the development of basic science discoveries into transformative technologies in the life sciences, including therapies, vaccines, diagnostics, devices, and digital technologies in biomedicine.
The 2013-14 Blavatnik Fellows are Ross Leimberg (MBA 2012), Daniel Oliver (MBA 2013), Steven Porter, MD (MBA 2011), John Strenkowski (MBA 2009), and Ridhi Tariyal (MBA 2009). (For biographies, please see below.)
The Blavatnik Fellows Program is directed by Vicki Sato, PhD, former president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and now professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and professor of the practice in Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. “Harvard Business School has a long history of educating leaders who make a difference in organizations around the world,” she said. “The Blavatnik Family Foundation’s establishment of this fellowship enables an extraordinary group of Harvard MBA graduates to nurture new technological innovations and take on leadership roles in new ventures specializing in research and development in the life sciences.”
Blavatnik Fellows receive a $95,000 stipend for a twelve-month period, as well as additional funding for activities such as due diligence, market research, licensing options, and other relevant tasks necessary for working with inventors and Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development to determine the best route for the commercialization of a product.
Based in the Harvard University Innovation Lab (i-lab), a center of entrepreneurial activity from across the University, Blavatnik Fellows will have opportunities to become part of the HBS and University communities. Formal and informal components of the program will provide education and interaction in a wide variety of areas, including strategy, R&D management, intellectual property, regulatory affairs, business development, and entrepreneurial financing. Fellows will be encouraged to complete business plans and secure funding and where appropriate, to join and develop founding teams of new ventures.
In addition, Blavatnik Fellows will have access to leaders in Boston’s business, biomedical, and life science communities, including executives, entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, and attorneys, who are willing to serve as mentors during the fellowship year. They are also being paired with individuals from this group who have the time and interest to partner more closely and meet with them regularly to monitor and help with their projects.
“We are delighted to welcome the first Blavatnik Fellows to Harvard Business School,” said Dean Nitin Nohria. “Harvard is situated in the midst of the world’s top talent in biomedical and other sciences. These Fellows will help turn innovative ideas into new ventures that will have a significant impact on the well-being of people in Boston and around the globe. We are pleased to see them take on key roles in this important sector, which depends on the merging of both breakthrough scientific ideas and great business leadership.”
The 2013-14 Blavatnik Fellows are:
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 80 open enrollment Executive Education programs and more than 60 custom programs. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who have shaped the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.