Biotech founders in the making, get ready. A new incubator for life-science startups is coming to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Nucleate, a free and collaborative student-led organization, works to empower biotechnology founders by facilitating the creation of pioneering life sciences companies. The organization has a presence in many locations in the United States and was recently established a chapter in Colorado.
Nucleate Boulder is open to eligible students from colleges across the state, including: the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, CU Boulder, CU Denver, Colorado School of Mines, and Colorado State University. Through team building, mentorship and networking, the program aims to equip students with the knowledge needed to build a business that many don’t get in their formal education.
Pioneering a hub for students
“U.S core mission is to pioneer a hub for students, especially PhDs and postdocs, who are interested in building life science ventures,” said Stefanos Koutsoukos, one of the directors of Nucleate Boulder. Koutsoukos is in his first year as a PhD student in the Human Medical Genetics and Genomics program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and contacted Nucleate headquarters in the fall of 2021 about starting a Colorado chapter. He is the co-founder of the Chapter and is excited to partner with a new generation of student biotech founders in Colorado.
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“One way Nucleate Boulder hopes to work with students is through their thesis work, at the beginning, middle, or end of their PhD or postdoc. We want to help students run their research, raise money and ultimately, at the end of the day, do good science that will have a broad impact.” said Koutsoukos.
According to Koutsoukos, forming a biotech company led by PhDs or postdocs is a relatively new idea. “I could probably go through my entire PhD and graduate studies without any exposure to biotech company formation,” he said. “It’s very much an education and training that you have to pursue yourself, at least in the current infrastructure. That said, even if you look for it, the resources that are student-centered are very limited. We are excited to change this paradigm.”
Nucleate Boulder’s incubator called the The Activator program starts with a team building phase that fits together, in which the pairs students into a team of other early career people with a similar vision for a biotech startup. It will feature workshops and mentor office hours, culminating in a final pitch showcase for world-renowned venture capitalists (VCs) from across the industry. The group invites students from a wide variety of backgrounds, including life science and business (MBAs are welcome to apply). Applications for Nucleate Boulder’s first Activator open on August 1 and close in October.
Nucleate Boulder will hold an official launch party in early September. Along with regional leadership, the event will host founders and VCs from across Colorado’s biotech landscape and be a valuable networking event for students.
Laura Veith makes a special contribution.