The Business Potential of Engineering Biology
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The Business Potential of Engineering Biology

When: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
6:00 - 8:30 pm
Where: Medidata Solutions
350 Hudson Street
9th Floor
New York, New York  10014
United States
Contact: Administrator

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The Business Potential of Engineering Biology

We’ve all heard about the power of synthetic biology to create and modify living cells on increasingly large scales. Better known as engineering biology, the field is a hot and controversial area of science, which is impacting business profoundly.

Not since the completion of the Human Genome Project nearly 20 years ago, has a new scientific discipline energized the public and private sectors with far-reaching potential to change medicine and healthcare as well as solve important global problems in energy, agriculture and materials. CB Insights currently cites synthetic biology as one of the top 8 game-changing opportunities for investors. For more on this  go to The Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology

CBSACNY has organized a dynamic panel of pioneering scientists, investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, who will discuss the financing environment for emerging companies in this space, market opportunities, and what kind of business leadership can facilitate its growth.

Our panelists include:

Nancy J. Kelley, moderator and speaker: President & CEO, Nancy J Kelley & Associates
Virginia Cornish, PhD, Helena Rubinstein Professor, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University
Andras Forgacs, co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow
Spencer Adler, CEO, Bioeconomy Capital
Jef Boeke, PhD, founder of the Institute for Systems Genetics and professor of biochemistry at NYU School of Medicine


Nancy is a pioneer in building life sciences ecosystems, who previously was the Founding Executive Director of the New York Genome Center (NYGC) and a lead executive in the development of the East River Science Park (now Alexandria Life Sciences Center) here in New York City, to name just two of her large life science projects. NYGC is a highly successful public-private initiative that is reshaping genomic research, with immediate implications for patient care in the New York metro area. Nancy holds a BA in Economics from Yale College, a JD from Harvard Law School and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. Nancy spoke this fall on her life and unusual career with Nature Biotech's Brady Huggett in this highly worthwhile podcast.

Virginia specializes in bringing together modern methods of chemical synthesis and DNA technologies that yield new approaches for modification of biomolecules in living cells. The work of her lab advances the breakthroughs of the last century around synthetic manipulation of biomolecules in vitro. Cornish graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A. in biochemistry in 1991, and earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, and then did a postdoctoral fellowship at M.I.T. Virginia joined the chemistry department at Columbia in 1999, and became a full professor in 2007.

Andras is co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based company that has raised more than $50 million to fund its quest to fabricate sustainable leather using state-of-the-art biotechnology tools. The company recently closed a $40 million Series B, led by Horizons Ventures and Iconiq Capital. Andras also co-founded Organovo (NYSE: ONVO), which commercialized 3D bioprinting to create human tissues for pharmaceutical research and medical applications and has worked at top-tier venture capital and investment banking companies.He is also co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the international non-profit Resolution Project. Andras was a Kauffman Fellow with the Center for Venture Education and a Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds an MBA from Wharton and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Harvard.

Spencer is CEO of Bioeconomy Capital. He is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and investor based in NYC, with a history working with disruptive technologies with a positive social impact - getting them out of the lab and out to the world. He co-produced the climate change film The Island President, co-funded by PBS, Pew, Ford, MacArthur, and Sundance, with music by Radiohead, which won the Toronto Film Festival audience award. He co-funded the first incubator for synthetic biology companies (Launchpad, on the NASA campus, sponsored by Singularity University), and is the creator of SynBio Investors, LLC. In New York City, he created the Bioeconomy Fundamentals Course and the Bioeconomy Supper Club.

Jef is best known for his pioneering fundamental genetic and biochemical work on understanding the mechanisms of DNA transposition. Boeke is currently leading Sc2.0, an international team of collaborators constructing a synthetic version of the entire genome of Baker's Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The project could be completed as early as 2017. After graduating summa cum laude from Bowdoin College with a biochemistry degree, he received a PhD in molecular biology from Rockefeller University and did a post-doc at The Whitehead Institute at MIT.

DATE: January 18, 2017
TIME: 6:00-6:30 check-in, 6:30-7:45 panel discussion and Q&A, 7:45-8:30 Networking
LOCATION: Medidata Solutions, 350 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
TICKETS: $30 CBSACNY members, $12 CBS students, $40 Non-members; NO WALK-INS! (REGISTRATION CLOSES 24 HOURS PRIOR TO EVENT.)

SPECIAL OFFER: Attend two events for free this year with the purchase of a one-year ($85 or more) membership to the Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York. Click here to join now and then contact us for your promotional code to register for the events of your choice for free (cannot be combined with other promotional codes and sports events and holiday parties are excluded.) 

Special thanks to our host, Medidata Solution. Medidata's Chief Technology Officer Julie Iskow will make an introduction. Julie is responsible for the vision and direction of Medidata’s technology strategy and leads the organization that designs, develops, delivers and supports the company’s client-facing products, platform and IT infrastructure. The company was co-founded by CEO Tarek Sherif, a CBS alum, and President Glen DeVries, a former research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center.

This event was organized by the CBSACNY Healthcare Committee.