Center for Life Science Ventures Student Projects

Center for Life Science Ventures

The Center for Life Science Ventures, a life science startup incubator on campus, has a few client projects that would benefit from the help of Cornell students. The projects typically involve market scan, business strategy, customer discovery etc. Students can apply their knowledge from class, get first-hand experience working with a startup, and help move great technologies towards greater impact.

If you are interested in any of the following projects, please contact Center’s Associate Director Ying Yang If you are interested in working for life science startups but the projects don’t fit you interest, please don’t hesitate to reach out too – there is more to come.

Current client projects include:

Project 1: Business model for MetaPhenomics

Company: MetaPhenomics is a Cornell biotech startup developing a proprietary time-resolved label-free live-cells assays with high information content and throughput. It could be used for drug screening, toxicity screening and quality control of a cell manufacturing for regenerative medicine.

Three business models are currently considered: (1) Developing a stand-alone device (measurement instrument plus our patented Multi-well Integrated Metasurface Arrays, or MIMAs) for the above assays. (2) Developing a simple add-on attachment to existing measurement instruments, and (3) Creating an in-house “bio-data” factory that would provide services directly to pharmaceutical companies.

Project: The team would work closely with the founders to identify the most viable business model. This could be done by (i) identifying and interviewing potential customers, (ii) estimating their level of interest, (iii) projecting the required capital investments, and (iv) identifying competitors whose products and business models will be disrupted by MetaPhenomics.

Deliverables: A presentation outlining the pros and cons of the business models, and making a recommendation of which business model to pursue and the MVP that needs to be developed accordingly.

Project 2: Drug repurposing market assessment for Renatured Pharmaceuticals

Company: Drug repurposing is a fast-track alternative to drug discovery, as it leverages existing safety history and manufacturing protocols. A major challenge is identifying which existing drugs may serve to treat a disease. Renatured Pharmaceuticals, a Cornell biotech startup, is developing a novel approach to finding potential new drug applications by analyzing the microbiome and the mechanisms by which human-associated microbes impact health. In brief, we have identified a set of novel drug targets for chronic disorders (e.g. diabetes, colorectal cancer, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, schizophrenia) that are targeted by drugs intended for different therapeutic outcomes. These new applications are potentially lucrative, low-hanging fruit that promise to improve individuals’ lives.

Project: We wish to recruit students to pursue market research into specific diseases and therapeutics. As part of this project, we will develop a prioritization strategy for drugs, based on their market opportunity, competition landscape, ease of validation and perceived therapeutic efficacy. The following skills may be particularly useful to this project: literature review, modeling, market analysis, and experience in pharmaceuticals.

Deliverables: A comprehensive report which includes

  • A framework of prioritizing the indications / candidate drugs
  • Market sizing and competition analysis of the therapeutic areas / indications
  • A subset of high-priority candidate drugs that have repurposing potential

Project 3: Agritech investor landscape for QuorAgra 

Company: QuorAgra is a Cornell technology startup to reduce Salmonella infection in humans caused via the consumption of contaminated poultry meat. We are developing a non-antibiotic, orally delivered compound (c2-HDA) allows for a novel method to prevent Salmonella infection and drug resistance by reducing the virulence of Salmonella to invade tissue within the gut. This solution is based on a patent-protected innovative quorum-sensing technology with early proof of concept completed in the target species using significant research grants from the USDA.

Project: Identify the potential investors and funding sources for QuorAgra (please do not include investors that have never invested in ag tech space)

Deliverables: A datasheet with potential investors information including

  1. Contact information, process, timeline / important dates, past investments in agriculture space
  2. Classification (angel investors / groups, VCs, corporate / strategic investors, accelerators, government, university and industry funds).
  3. Priority rank (criteria to be jointly defined)

Project 4: Non-destructive soft tissue biopsy business plan for BioHaptix 

Company: BioHaptix is a Cornell startup developing a biomedical device capable of measuring the mechanical and electrical impedance properties soft-tissues non-destructively. Much of what we know about health and disease states in the body are ascertained via palpation and biopsies. Palpation – physical inspection of a tissue, whether internal or external, is inherently a subjective art form based on the intuition and experience of the physician. Further, clinicians have no way to communicate their findings or train personnel to perform procedures well, as no two fingers are alike. Biopsies, the next level of assessment, are inherently destructive of a tissue, often extremely painful/invasive, and can inadvertently propagate the disease they are trying to solve (e.g. cancer). It would be desirable in both cases for a non-destructive, quantitative analysis of tissue health.

Our patented technology integrates local vacuum pressure with a microfabricated electrode array to provide dual mechanical-impedance of a tissue, data already known to correlate with health and disease states, in a non-destructive manner. There are many potential application spaces, whether in clinical settings (e.g. cancer biopsy, pre-term labor detection), non- regulatory animal settings (e.g. prized animal health, in vivo meat quality), and other potential markets (e.g. robotic surgery sensation). The current iteration of the technology involves a disposable tip with a central data acquisition/processing unit to be serviceable in the field or office.

Project: BioHaptix is looking for a group of students to evaluate the market landscape of such a technology platform to prioritize entry points, risk/benefit, and a business development strategy. Competition analysis against existing technologies in each market, if any, would also be important.