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BENCH TO BEDSIDE

NEOMED co-entrepreneurial lead Gregory Sondag, Ph.D. (foreground, left) and principal investigator Fayez Safadi, Ph.D. (foreground, right) at a work session at Ohio State University.

TRAINING FOR THE MARKETPLACE

S

BY ELAINE GUREGIAN

hark Tank for scientists. That’s how Fayez Safadi, Ph.D., describes I-Corps@ Ohio, an entrepreneurial training program that the NEOMED researcher and his team just completed, thanks to a competitive state grant. The Ohio program, housed at the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, is modeled on a program developed at the National Science Foundation to promote the transfer of technology from lab to marketplace. I-Corps@Ohio selects teams of academic researchers with promising new technology, then connects them with high-powered business people who coach them. The I-Corps@Ohio training complements the support offered at NEOMED’s REDIzone — dedicated

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laboratory space on campus where new technology is prepped for the marketplace through the power of public-private research partnerships.

START WITH THE CUSTOMER Training and activities, some in person and some by videoconferencing, took place at a fast clip for seven demanding weeks over the summer. That quick pace exemplifies the high aspirations of the program, says Dr. Safadi. The first order of business? To identify potential clients by doing 100 interviews — the first dozen in four days. The final goal? For Dr. Safadi’s team, GPN Therapeutics, to determine its best potential clients. As the principal investigator on the team, Dr. Safadi began with his own contacts to set up client interviews. The

T H E PA S S I O N O F P H Y S I C I A N S , P H A R M A C I S T S A N D H E A LT H C A R E R E S E A R C H E R S

co-entrepreneurial leads, graduate student Fouad Moussa and post-doctoral fellow Gregory Sondag, Ph.D., were required to participate in conducting the interviews. At weekly meetings, the NEOMED team discussed their hypotheses and customer interviews; developed and revised their business model; and drew conclusions that could impact the future of their technology and start-up company. Weekly presentations via webscasts to the panel of successful entrepreneurs — an exacting and tough audience, according to Dr. Safadi — were an important part of the process. The following notes from Dr. Safadi, shown in the photo above, give a glimpse into the work completed by these researcher-entrepreneurs over two months:

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Ignite Magazine | Fall 2016  

Ignite is a biannual publication designed to showcase and celebrate the advancement of students, innovation and research, and community heal...

Ignite Magazine | Fall 2016  

Ignite is a biannual publication designed to showcase and celebrate the advancement of students, innovation and research, and community heal...

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