Science & Technology

BioNJ Launches Inaugural Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program

Announces Selection of First Fellow

BioNJ, the life sciences trade association for New Jersey, announced the launch of a first ever Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program and the selection of Irina Katz, University of the Sciences — Class of 2018, as the first ever Fellow.

BioNJ’s Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program was created to mentor, develop and train life sciences would-be entrepreneurs in New Jersey to encourage the establishment of start-ups in the state. Participating companies include Amicus Therapeutics, Pfizer, Photocure and Rafael Pharma. The Fellowship will commence July 2018 and Ms. Katz will rotate among these four life sciences companies for a period of six month each, totaling two years.

“We are thrilled to launch BioNJ’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program,” said James Sapirstein, chairman, BioNJ and CEO, ContraVir Pharmaceuticals. “We had a stellar group of candidates apply for the Fellowship and were delighted to offer this opportunity to Ms. Katz. Over the next two years, she will have exposure to key functional areas of the industry at some of the State’s most innovative companies. Fellowship programs, such as BioNJ’s, are key to attracting an entrepreneurial, highly educated workforce to New Jersey.”

BioNJ President and CEO, Debbie Hart, added, “I am so proud to bring this groundbreaking program, which was the brainchild of our Chairman James Sapirstein, forward. We had the unique opportunity to work in collaboration with the Industry Pharmacists Organization whose leaders have over 50 years of combined experience in successfully managing fellowship programs and recruiting high quality fellows. Not only were we able to place Ms. Katz in our Program, but a second candidate, Shelja Patel, Rutgers University — Class of 2018, was placed in a separate fellowship with Photocure which is led by BioNJ Board member Ambaw Bellete, as a result of our interview process. This was a serendipitous and very exciting outcome. Congratulations to Irina and Shelja.”

The life sciences industry continues to be a critical economic engine for New Jersey with over 350,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. However, the performance of the overall industry has grown more slowly than the U.S. economy; primarily due to increased competition from other states in the number of start-ups. BioNJ’s Fellowship Program provides the opportunity to recruit talented potential entrepreneurs to learn about the industry and to potentially start their own company right here in the State in the future.

“We would like to thank our participating companies for their commitment to our program, our Fellow and to supporting the growth of New Jersey’s ecosystem,” added Hart.

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