Yale graduate students found the New Haven chapter of Nucleate Bio
Yale PhD and MBA students are leading the creation of a biotechnology entrepreneurship center for Yale and the wider New Haven community.
Lukas Flippo, senior photographer
Yale graduate students founded a New Haven branch of the non-profit organization Nucleate Bio, which specializes in entrepreneurship in the biotechnology sector. In the long run, the organization could help attract biotech startups to Elm City.
Nucleate Bio is a Boston-based startup dedicated to training and supporting aspiring biotechnology entrepreneurs. In recent years, the initiative has spread to many U.S. cities, now reaching New Haven through the work of several Yale graduate students who have partnered with Yale organizations, including Yale Cooperative Research and Tsai Center for Innovation Thinking at Yale. Anjali Ramaswamy GRD ’23 and Stephen Lanahan GRD founded the New Haven chapter earlier this year and led its development as general managers.
“Nucleate Bio is a free and collaborative entrepreneurship ‘training ground’ for aspiring biotech founders, ”Ramaswamy and Lanahan wrote in an email to the News. “We founded a Nucleate Bio chapter in New Haven because we felt there was a gap in the ecosystem in the number of interns and students at the forefront of innovation in biosciences versus to the depth of the resources available to them for setting up a business. “
Concretely, Nucleate Bio provides a framework through which new entrepreneurs can receive support and network with other aspiring biotechnology entrepreneurs. Most notably, the target population is doctoral students, postdoctoral graduates and MBA students, according to Ramaswamy and Lanahan.
The New Haven Chapter was founded with the goal of connecting students interested in biotechnology to spaces in the state of Connecticut dedicated to innovation. The organization also seeks to empower interns, such as graduate students, who learn and work within the New Haven ecosystem, according to Tianjiao Su GRD ’22, Strategy Director for the New Haven Chapter of Nucleate Bio.
“I was the third person to join the team, after Stephen and Anjali, the co-CEOs, ”Su wrote in an email to News. “All of us on the team are passionate about the transformative power of biotechnology to solve pressing global problems. “
According to Lanahan, Ramaswamy and Su, there is a gap in entrepreneurship education on the Yale campus, especially for students who are interested in the life sciences. Currently, students do not have access to a program that can provide one-on-one support throughout the entrepreneurial process, from education to real ‘business training’.
Ramaswamy and Lanahan work in the same lab as the researchers. In the future, they both aspire to start their own biotech companies and use their scientific training and expertise to come up with innovative solutions to improve health outcomes.
“We hope to create a community of budding bio-entrepreneurs and support them with a strong educational base and network,” wrote Ramaswamy and Lanahan. “Overall, we hope to help cultivate an entrepreneurial atmosphere at Yale and support our local New Haven biotech scene. ”
The idea of founding a Nucleate Bio chapter in New Haven arose out of a mutual desire to learn more about entrepreneurship and to strengthen the culture of “biotechnology innovation” within New Haven, according to Ramaswamy and Lanahan.
As students themselves, the two CEOs hope to build a program that is focused on student needs and that will give the next generation of entrepreneurs the support they need.
“Nucleate Bio is run entirely by students and volunteer interns: we do not receive any payment or equity participation, ”wrote Ramaswamy and Lanahan.
According to Su, students join teams to work on a basic academic subject or new technology. This year’s Nucleate Bio teams will work on challenges related to therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture and manufacturing.
Each team then moves through a series of workshop events and participates in “fireside conversations” with current investors and founders of the biotech industry. At the end of the program, each team gives a final pitch at the Innovation Summit.
In the short term, the New Haven chapter of Nucleate Bio aims to help participants grow professionally and acquire new leadership skills. By providing networking opportunities, participants will also have the opportunity to complete scholarships, further graduate studies, or join the biotechnology industry after graduation.
Over the long term, section management expects multiple teams to build successful businesses and achieve “early market success”. As a result, Nucleate Bio will be able to support New Haven by creating a biotechnology hub and a “talent pipeline”. Additionally, by encouraging innovation and helping students express their visions, the program aims to produce successful and innovative intern-led companies, according to Ramaswamy and Lanahan.
Lanahan and Ramaswamy joined Yale’s Lucas Lab in May 2018 and 2019, respectively.