December 22, 2022

Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces Awardees for Public-Private Initiative to Support Women Entrepreneurs

2022 MassNexGen Awardees culminate five-year initiative to catalyze gender parity in life science entrepreneurship within the Commonwealth

Today, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) announced the 2022 winners for the MLSC’s Massachusetts Next Generation Initiative (MassNextGen), a competitive program to support women entrepreneurs in early-stage life sciences companies. Five companies will receive individual grants and access to a network of executive coaches for a year. For this funding year, the MLSC and the program’s industry sponsors committed $537,500 in funding for awards. Since the program’s inception, including this year’s awards, nearly $2 million has been deployed through MassNextGen to support 26 women-led companies, which have gone on to raise more than $120 million in follow-on funding.

“In order to remain the global leader in the life sciences, we must continue to strengthen the diversity of our entrepreneurial community,” said MLSC President and CEO Kenn Turner. “Collaboration is key in this endeavor. I remain grateful for our industry sponsors, executive coaches, and partners across the ecosystem for their collective efforts toward building a diverse ecosystem with equal representation.”

MassNextGen was launched to foster greater gender parity in the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. Each year, following a competitive application and review process, the MLSC awards women-led, early-stage life science companies a yearlong 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 help increase the effectiveness of efforts to raise capital.

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, Sanofi, King Street Properties, Johnson and Johnson Innovation, Mintz, Mission Biocapital, LabCentral Ignite, and the initiative’s initial corporate sponsor, Takeda.

The five women-led companies selected as awardees through the fifth year of the MassNextGen program represent a wide range of applications to advance innovative technologies in life sciences and improve public health. This year’s MassNextGen awardees are:

MassNextGen Entrepreneur: Elizabeth Wood​, Founder & CEO ​
JURA Bio is revolutionizing the field of cell therapies for T-cell mediated disease with its cutting-edge platform powered by machine learning and synthetic biology.

MassNextGen Entrepreneur: Alison Burklund, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer
Nanopath is a molecular diagnostics company that aims to disrupt traditional testing methodologies. The company’s goal is to equitably improve the lives of patients, starting with women, by providing actionable molecular information within a single office visit.

Phiex Technologies
MassNextGen Entrepreneur: CL Tian​, CEO
Phiex Technologies enables medical device makers to sterilize critical devices in-line with self-sterilizing materials, providing a safe, cost/time-savings alternative to the cancer-causing status quo.

MassNextGen Entrepreneur: Dr. Andee Wallace, CEO & Co-Founder 
Robigo is a synthetic biology platform company engineering microbes to fundamentally change the way the world grows its food to create a more sustainable future for agriculture.

Sidereal Therapeutics (Mission BioCapital Awardee)
MassNextGen Entrepreneur: Maura Warner​, CEO & Co-Founder ​
Sidereal is an early-stage company developing therapeutics for Acute Kidney Injury, Bone Marrow Transplant & other critical care applications.