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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Princeton undergrads launch life science start-up without benefit of entrepreneurship programs

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A team of MBA students at Princeton University has formed to commercialize a life science technology — not as part of a regimented entrepreneurship program, but as legitimate company founders.

Alimtas BioVentures is a self-managed, multidisciplinary team of undergrads that is advancing two applications of a Princeton cellular patterning technology: one to generate model organs in order to test new cosmetic products, and another to help grow cells after spinal cord injury. Working with the Office of Technology Licensing at Princeton, Alimtas performed due diligence on the technology and created a fundraising pitch deck.

“This sort of program — teams of students working with a tech transfer office to build out a business plan around a real university technology — is relatively commonplace a business schools, and [is] frequently a credited course in an MBA program,” says Tony Williams, new ventures associate in the Office of Technology Licensing. “For a group of undergraduate students to self-organize and undertake the same work entirely under their own initiative and in their own free time is something completely unheard of, at least for me.”

The Princeton Entrepreneurship Council connected the Alimtas team to Andrew Wood, commercial transformation lead for global human health at Merck, who guided them through the strategy and business considerations around the Princeton technology.

“What we do at Merck is look at a lot of opportunity,” says Wood. “And we went through an exercise in understanding how to structure the opportunity that was in front of them.”

Autin Mejia, incoming co-president of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club, comments, “I am so amazed by everything Alimtas accomplished this year. Now that they’ve established themselves, I anticipate next year to be even stronger, and I’m incredibly excited to help support it. I have full faith in Alimtas to succeed.”

According to co-founder Avinash Boppana, Alimtas is looking to expand. “For next year, we will be applying our methodology to multiple projects in parallel, exploring an array of exit opportunities, as well as preparing for a change of leadership as next year comes to a close,” says Boppana.

Source: Princeton

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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