Biotech Startup School 2020

February-April 2020

A free online course on how to start a biotech startup, featuring lectures and panel discussions from leading biotech entrepreneurs and VCs

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Practical, actionable advice for biotech founders

Biotech Startup School took place in 2020. We do not plan on offering additional courses at this point.

In this free 10-week program, you will learn how leading biotech VCs and entrepreneurs build companies. Each lecture will feature a speaker with direct experience building, funding or supporting successful biotech startups.

Lectures will be posted to the course YouTube channel. Subscribe to stay updated.

In addition to the lectures, you can apply to participate in a Venture Exploration project. Teams will explore a startup idea through a structured program, receive feedback from investors and mentors, and get help with applications to incubators. Learn more about the project here.


Our speakers are leaders in the biotech industry, from experienced big pharma scientists, to top-tier biotech investors, to entrepreneurs who raised millions of dollars straight from their PhD.

Jan 30: The next generation of biotech founders

  • Ashley Zehnder, co-founder and CEO, Fauna Bio
  • Liz Shepherd, co-founder, Novome Biotech
  • Leah Sibener, co-founder, 3T Biosciences
  • Maria Soloveychik, co-founder and CEO, SyntheX
  • Sam Kintz, co-founder and CEO, EnLiven Therapeutics
  • Moderated by Barbara Alcaraz Silva, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Watch the recording here

Feb 13: How the best VCs evaluate ideas

  • Julie Grant, General Partner, Canaan
  • JJ Kang, Partner, The Column Group
  • Mira Chaurushiya, Principal, 5AM Ventures
  • Sarah Bhagat, Principal, Sofinnova
  • Rich Gaster, Principal, venBio
  • Cristina Ghenoiu, SVP of R&D Operations, Epirium Bio
  • Watch the recording here

Feb 19: Essential IP strategies for startups

  • Mike Hostetler, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
  • Slides available here
  • Watch the recording here

Feb 27: How to negotiate licensing agreements

  • Kathy Ku, Chief Licensing Advisor, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
  • Kanad Das, Executive Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
  • Kirsten Leute, Partner, Osage University Partners
  • Slides available here
  • Watch the recording here

Postponed due to COVID-19: Drug discovery 101

  • Arash Rassoulpour, Executive Director, Charles River Laboratories
  • Holger Wesche, Chief Scientific Officer, Harpoon Therapeutics
  • John Flygare, Senior Principal Scientist, Merck

Postponed due to COVID-19: Drug development 101

  • Michael Templin, Scientific Advisory Services, Charles River Laboratories
  • Julie Woda, Senior Director, R&D, BioMotiv

Postponed due to COVID-19: Clinical development and regulatory affairs 101

  • James Tursi, Chief Medical Officer, Antares Pharma

Postponed due to COVID-19: Taking your first steps as a founder

  • Jun Axup, Scientific Director and Partner, IndieBio
  • Laura Deming, Founder and Partner, Longevity Fund
  • Robert Blazej, Partner, Mission BioCapital, Director, MBC Biolabs

Each event will be recorded live in the San Francisco Bay Area and posted online.

We will post an Eventbrite for each event roughly 3 weeks before the event. We will post the recordings a few days after each event. Sign up to stay posted.

Venture Exploration project

In addition to the lectures, you can learn about biotech entrepreneurship through a hands-on project: creating and validating a biotech venture hypothesis.

During the project, you will explore and validate a venture hypothesis through a structured process. We will provide feedback and guidance, and you will have the chance to get feedback from investors, mentors and other participants.

Who is this for?

Biotech Startup School is a way for any founder, no matter where you live or where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, to learn more about best practices for biotech entrepreneurship.

Most of the content will be specific to biotherapeutics. But this content will be relevant for any biotech startup that won't have revenue or users for years, and that doesn't want to "move fast and break things" when it comes to human health.

We know that you are busy, and you may not even be sure if starting a company is right for you. We designed this course with that in mind -- because the lectures are all available for free online, you can go through them at your own pace, with no commitment.

We also know that it can be hard to find other people who are in the process of starting a biotech company. Our events will be recorded with a live audience in the Bay Area, so if you are local, you'll have many opportunities to network with other current and potential entrepreneurs.

If you have already started a company, or know that you'd like to do so in the near-term, we are putting together some resources to help you get your startup off the ground. Stay posted for more details.

About Biotech Startup School

Since 2017, Bay Bridge Bio has been organizing programs to connect grad students and postdocs with biotech VCs to learn about the industry and find jobs. We've also organized events and panel discussions on biotech VC and startups.

We often get asked whether we plan on offering programs to people outside of the Bay Area. And investors and entrepreneurs have expressed interest in sharing their stories with a broader audience. Biotech Startup School is a way for us to accomplish both of these things.

This course is not formally affiliated with any university or company. The program is organized by Bay Bridge Bio. Bay Bridge Bio was started in 2017 as a way for Berkeley students to connect with the Bay Area biotech community. Our mission is to help more young scientists and entrepreneurs find jobs and start biotech companies.

The program is funded by industry sponsors. If you are an organization interested in sharing your services with a large, global audience of current and aspiring biotech founders, get in touch here to learn how we can help.