Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative

Program Overview

The Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen) is a five year, over $2 million commitment to ensure greater gender parity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. Increasing the number of successful entrepreneurs is in the best interest of the entire life science industry and as such, this initiative is a public-private partnership between the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and our corporate sponsors Takeda, King Street Properties, and Sanofi.

Each year, following a competitive program, women-led early-stage life science companies will be awarded a year-long customized package of support, which includes non-dilutive grant funding and access to a network of seasoned Executive Coaches from the life sciences ecosystem to refine their business strategies and effectively raise capital.

A total of $437,500 of non-dilutive capital is available for the third year of the program to be distributed to winners of a competitive process for prizes of up to $100,000. Additional in-kind support and coaching from an illustrious network of seasoned entrepreneurs and life science investors as executive coaches will be available to winners of the challenge.

Why MassNextGen?

It is clear the system is broken and that a lack of diversity in life sciences is a problem at all levels of the ecosystem [1].  This underrepresentation has real consequences not only for individual careers, but also for the amount of new innovative therapeutics that make it to patients. Specifically for entrepreneurs, there is well documented bias against women-led ventures when raising funds. Between 2011 and 2013, only 15% of the companies receiving venture capital investment had a woman on the executive team. However, only 3% of the total venture capital dollars in the U.S. went to companies with a woman CEO. Seed stage money is the hardest for women executives to come by[2].

Gender parity is not only about equal representation. It’s about a strong business case that supports a diverse ecosystem. Research shows that companies with more diverse leadership do better.  One study has demonstrated that biotech companies with diverse boards, even those with at least one woman on their board, outperform companies with all-male boards [3]. Other studies show that diverse teams find more creative solutions to problems [4]. Having more women at all levels of our ecosystem makes our industry stronger.

This initiative is designed to support women entrepreneurs, giving them the tools they need to overcome the bias they face. These tools include expanding their network, increased visibility within our ecosystem, and directly investing in their ventures via non-dilutive capital. We look forward to featuring standout Massachusetts women-led life science companies over the course of the program and we look forward to partnering with industry members to make it happen!

Application and Review Process

The program will be accepting applications for the 2020 year starting January 2, 2020. Read our solicitation to see further eligibility conditions and for more details of the initiative. Please visit our SmartSimple portal to apply by the 12PM February 14th deadline. Top applicants may be asked to meet with our judging panel and will be notified of such a request.

If you have any questions regarding the application process please direct them to

Executive Coaching Network

Executive Coaches are an essential part of MassNextGen. Armed with experiences from investing in, partnering with, and running their own early-stage life science companies, they bring a real-world perspective to the program. Coaches are passionate about diversifying life science entrepreneurship and generously donate their time to coaching session throughout the year. Like our sponsors, our coaches reflect the strong desire and commitment from our community to see women succeed at all levels of our ecosystem.

To meet our coaches, click here.

MassNextGen Awardees

Five exceptional leaders in the biotech industry are honored by Massachusetts’ Next Generation. These women come from diverse backgrounds and run companies doing a wide span of work in disease detection, prevention, and curbing addiction. They all share a passion for science entrepreneurship and a dedication to unparalleled advances in biotechnology.

To meet our first cohort of awardees, click here

To meet our second cohort of awardees, click here


Takeda is the first private partner to kick off this program by providing $250,000 to match the MLSC $250,000 over a five-year period. Takeda has demonstrated a clear dedication to strengthening the Massachusetts life sciences industry by supporting women-led companies and having as many talented and smart people at the table as possible.

In May, 2018 King Street Properties joined the MassNextGen initiative with a sponsorship of $125,000. King Street Properties is a local real estate developer in the life sciences and supports early state companies throughout the Greater Boston area.

Shortly before the launch of the second round, Sanofi Genzyme joined the initiative as the third corporate sponsor, matching Takeda’s initial investment of $250,000. Sanofi has demonstrated commitment to diversity in their work environment and been included on the Forbes Best Employers for Diversity List.

We are now accepting additional sponsors that are committed to making change in the life sciences ecosystem through supporting women-led life sciences companies. Sponsors will have an opportunity to participate in MassNextGen through judging, coaching, and other potential partnerships.

If you are interested in sponsoring the MassNextGen Initiative, please reach out to Jennifer Griffin, Vice President of Industry Programs & Relations at


[1]Stasiak L, Simpson K. Opening the Path to a Diverse Future. Liftstream. 2017
[2]Balachandra, L., Blank, A., Brush, C., Davis A., Greene, P. The Diana Report Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital. Babson College, 2014
[3]Patel R., Stasiak L., Simpson K. A Public Reality for Women in Biotech Boardrooms. Liftstream, 2017
[4]Dodgson L., Diverse companies see higher profit and have better focus — here’s why. Business Insider, 2017

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