National Science Foundation
The ACTiVATE Program for Technical Entrepreneurs
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Dr. Mona S. Jhaveri-Brown is founder of Foligo Therapeutics, a company working on a treatment for ovarian cancer.

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State: Maryland

The National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation Program enabled the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to develop a new model for training technology entrepreneurs and equipping them to start new companies using university or federal agency created technology. The Achieving the Commercialization of Technology in Ventures Through Applied Training for Entrepreneurs (ACTIVATE) program, which focuses on mid-career women, is a unique program in which participants select technologies identified and screened from regional research institutions, assess a technology’s commercial potential, develop a business plan, and, when appropriate, form a new company and seek funding. During the program’s first two years, 57 of 170 applicants were accepted into the program, 70 technologies from nine different research institutions were evaluated and screened, and nine new companies were formed.

One of the companies, Foligo Therapeutics, which is based on a technology licensed from the National Cancer Institute, is developing novel therapeutics for ovarian cancer. Foligo, which won the Start-Right Business Plan Competition, coordinated by Rockville Economic Development, Inc., was the first ACTiVATE company to obtain funding. Foligo’s founder, Dr. Jhaveri-Brown, is using the funds to support collaboration with a large biotechnology company.

Other universities, economic development organizations, and foundations (including Case Western and the Kauffman Foundation), have expressed interest in the ACTiVATE program and its new model for technology commercialization. 

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