Harvard Business School (HBS) has named its 2022-23 Blavatnik Fellows and the program’s ninth cohort. Launched in 2013, the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship is part of a gift to Harvard University from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. This program supports HBS alumni and Harvard-affiliated postdocs as they build their promising life science ventures by developing their leadership talents and providing mentorship and community during their entrepreneurial journey.
To date, Blavatnik Fellows have created 30 companies including a precision gene therapy, a respiratory dialysis device, a femtech device using genomics to enable women’s care, a biosensing wearable to prevent dehydration, and an oxygen sensor for personalized oncology care. They have collectively raised more than $485M in funding and an additional $244M from an IPO in June 2020. The Blavatnik Fellowship is led by Peter Barrett, PhD, faculty chair, and an advisory board of seasoned business and biotechnology leaders who serve as one-on-one mentors and provide strategic direction during the fellows’ program year.
“Since joining the Blavatnik Fellowship five years ago, the community has doubled in size and fellows’ companies funding has quadrupled. It is gratifying to be a part of the program’s tremendous growth and mentor next generation entrepreneurs who contribute to society by commercializing groundbreaking technology and biomedical innovation,” said Barrett. “This year’s fellows launched their ventures as MBA students and start their fellowship year with the largest seed financing raised as a new cohort. I am excited to work with them and carry on the program’s mission to inspire young life science entrepreneurs as they enter the Boston biotech ecosystem as Blavatnik Fellows.”
The 2022-2023 Blavatnik Fellows are:
Ilana Springer Borkenstein, RN (MBA 2022) is the co-founder and CEO of M7 Health, a technology company addressing the critical nursing shortage in the US. As a Blavatnik Fellow, Ilana will be focusing on M7 Health’s product development and go-to-market strategy. Prior to business school, Ilana was a registered nurse on the Bone Marrow Transplant and COVID-19 units at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She also brings operational experience from her roles at two early-stage health-tech startups, Elektra Health and Alula, and as a healthcare consultant at Deloitte. Ilana earned a BS in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from HBS.
Hunter Goble (MBA 2022) is the co-founder and CEO of Transcera, a biotech startup harnessing the biology of sphingolipids to enable oral delivery and amplified distribution of biologic medicines. Hunter plans to use the Blavatnik Fellowship year to refine strategy and business development for the company’s novel drug delivery platform with his co-founders, Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. Wayne Lencer and Justin Wolfe, PhD. Hunter became passionate about life sciences at Eli Lilly & Company, where he worked on commercializing biologic therapies for autoimmune diseases. Leading market research and patient support program development gave Hunter a chance to interact with hundreds of patients and physicians who motivated him to learn more about sources of innovation in life sciences. He has also worked at Huron Consulting Group and Cured, a health tech startup. Hunter has a BA in political science from DePauw University and an MBA from HBS.
Matt Ross (MBA 2022) is the co-founder and CEO of Trove Health, which aims to become the world’s largest database of consented and identified patients for clinical research. During his Blavatnik Fellowship, he will focus on the development and commercialization of Trove Health’s core software platform, which is harnessing technology to solve the immense challenge around patient recruitment for clinical trials, where fewer than three percent of eligible patients enroll. Matt started Trove Health as a student with HBS Professor Satish Tadikonda, who developed their initial technology for patient identification and enrollment after decades of experience in the field. Matt has been passionate about helping patients through digital health platforms since he worked at Sanofi Genzyme and Medumo, a health tech startup acquired by Philips. Matt received an AB in economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from HBS.
Shardule Shah, PhD (MBA 2022) is the CEO and co-founder of Lime Therapeutics, which he started as an HBS student. Lime is a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center spinout from Dr. Dan Heller’s lab, utilizing a novel high-throughput screening approach for discovering lipid-targeting drugs for treating cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Using its proprietary nanosensor-based approach, Lime has identified and patented a lead drug candidate that increases lifespan in a mouse model of a non-small cell lung cancer model by 50 percent. This lead drug is the first in Lime’s planned pipeline of medicines that will be working their way towards human clinical trials. Prior to business school, Shardule worked in the Bay Area at Lucira Health and Roche Molecular Diagnostics, where he managed clinical operations and regulatory affairs for point-of-care diagnostic devices including COVID-19 testing. Shardule earned his PhD from Emory University in immunology, an MS from the University of Pennsylvania in cell biology, a BS from Case Western Reserve University in biochemistry, and an MBA from HBS.
Alexey Youssef, MD, MSc (MBA 2022) is the co-founder of Sky Therapeutics, which he started with an MBA classmate, Shad Faraz. As a Blavatnik Fellow, Alex will build the first discovery and development-oriented digital therapeutics company using an AI and digital biomarkers-enabled platform that will churn out highly potent and personalized therapies at a fraction of the current cost and time. Prior to HBS, Alex worked with the World Health Organization to digitally transform health care systems in low-income settings using open-source electronic health records. He also worked as a physician on the front lines during the civil war in Syria. Alex gained valuable experience in the financial sector as a long/short equities hedge fund investor and mergers and acquisition financial advisor. He also co-founded a Y Combinator-backed biotech microbiome startup during school. Alex and Shad also co-host a popular podcast, “Physicians Off the Beaten Path,” interviewing physicians who have ventured into non-clinical careers. Alex is currently finishing a PhD in Computer Science at Oxford and an MS in Bioengineering at Stanford. In addition to being the first Syrian Rhodes Scholar, he earned an MD at Tishreen University, an MSc in Healthcare Systems at Oxford, and an MBA at HBS.
Established in 2013, 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. This innovative one-year program provides promising scientists and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to work with Harvard inventors and Harvard-affiliated hospitals to promote the commercialization of life science technologies with significant market potential. Fellows are given a unique set of advantages including mentorship, leadership opportunities, professional development, financial support, and working space at Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab.
Photo 1: The 2022-2023 Blavatnik Fellows (L-R): Shardule Shah, Hunter Goble, Matt Ross, Ilana Springer Borkenstein, Alexey Youssef. Photo courtesy Susan Young.
Photo 2: British-American Mega Philanthropist Sir Leonard Blavatnik with Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence founder Gabriel Erem and Daniel Erem