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Accelerating Innovation: Funding Your Biomedical Tech

Date & Time

Monday, May 20, 2024, 11:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.




Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs

303A College Road East Princeton, NJ, 08540


Hosted by Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs, National Cancer Institute SBIR Development Center, Rutgers Office for Research, and I-Corps Hub Northeast Region

Infographic for in-person event on May 20, 2024 called Accelerating Innovation: Funding Your Biomedical Tech

Are you aware of the federal funding program that supports the commercialization efforts of biotech innovators? The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides up to $6.4 million in funding to life science startups, with no strings attached.

As part of the NCI’s engine of innovation for advancing novel cancer-related technologies from lab to market, the SBIR Development Center funds a diverse portfolio of small businesses that are developing technologies to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

To learn more, join NCI SBIR, Rutgers University, and the NSF I-Corps Hub Northeast Region for an information session during a provided luncheon from 11:00 am–12:45 pm ET on Monday, May 20, 2024 at Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs.

Following introductory presentations from cohosting organizations, NCI SBIR Program Director Sarra Djemil will provide a detailed overview on funding opportunities, commercialization resources, and application advice that biotech researchers can use to move their projects forward. This presentation is appropriate for researchers who are considering forming a small business to translate their work and bring their ideas to life. Topics to be covered include:

· New and current funding opportunities

· Application tips and suggestions

· Commercialization resources for applicants and awardees

After the presentation, attendees will have a chance to participate in a Q&A with NCI SBIR awardee Neil Goldstein and meet one-on-one in person with Program Director Sarra Djemil to discuss their cancer technology project and funding eligibility. To be considered for a one-on-one meeting, please reach out to Michelle Roemer-Schoen (michelle@biolabs.io) with a one-page technology summary or specific aims page on your technology by Monday, May 13, 2024.

For questions about this event, please email Michelle Roemer-Schoen (michelle@biolabs.io). We look forward to seeing you there!

Speaker: Sarra Djemil, PhD, NCI SBIR Program Director

Sarra plays a pivotal role as the program director at the NCI SBIR Development Center, where she collaborates with a dedicated team to develop groundbreaking programs that nurture entrepreneurship and expedite the transition of cancer technologies to the clinic. Since assuming her role in February 2021, she has co-created and collaboratively managed the Industry Mentoring and Assistance Program, an unprecedented initiative within the NIH. This program enlists biotech industry experts to provide team-based mentoring to awardees, fostering a collaborative environment for innovation. Before her tenure at NCI SBIR, Sarra was an integral member of the Georgetown University research team, where she acquired her PhD in pharmacology in 2018 and contributed as an NCATS-funded TL1 Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She is committed to facilitating fruitful partnerships between small business innovators and industry veterans, thereby catalyzing the development of impactful healthcare solutions.


SpeakerChristina PellicaneAssistant Director of Innovation, Princeton, University, Lead Instructor, I-Corps Northeast Hub

Christina brings more than a decade of experience in supporting technology entrepreneurs in academia as well as experience in industry and business development. She is a nationally certified NSF I-Corps instructor and leader in entrepreneurship education. Most recently, Christiana was the first director of commercialization for the University of Delaware (UD)’s Horn Entrepreneurship Center, managing several initiatives including a $2M Proof of Concept fund and the UD I-Corps site. A patented inventor, she serves as chief operating officer of Lignolix, a chemical tech startup. Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and animal science from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business and Science with a concentration in biotechnology and genomics from Rutgers University.


SpeakerNeil Goldstein, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Skunkworx Bio, Inc.

Neil has more than 50+ years of experience as an academic scientist, research scientist, and manager within both startup and established companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. As a result, he has experience leveraging his knowledge of molecular biology, immunology, and drug discovery to identify new areas applicable to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. He has co-authored 70+ publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, numerous abstracts, and was a co-inventor on 15 issued patents; he has contributed to the development of 3 drugs that are currently on the market or in human clinical trials and has developed several preclinical drug leads for oncology, autoimmunity, and immunological deficiencies. Neil received his PhD in microbiology from the Waksman Institute of Immunology at Rutgers University and did his postdoctoral work at The Wistar Institute.