Harvard Business School names first Blavatnik fellows in life sciences entrepreneurship

Harvard Business School said Tuesday that it has named its first class of Blavatnik Fellows in Life Science Entrepreneurship – five outstanding HBS alumni who graduated from the school no more than seven years ago who will work with inventors from Harvard University’s research laboratories to promote the commercialization of important life science-oriented technologies.

The Blavatnik Fellowship Program was created last spring as part of a $50 million gift to Harvard University from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, which is headed by Len Blavatnik (MBA 1989), Harvard Business School, or HBS, said.

Vicki Sato. Photo taken from HBS website.

Working with the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, which supports early stage, highly promising technologies, the program at HBS seeks to expedite the development of basic science discoveries into transformative technologies in the life sciences, including therapies, vaccines, diagnostics, devices, and digital technologies in biomedicine.


The Blavatnik Fellows Program is directed by Vicki Sato, former president of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and now professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and professor of the practice in Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

“Harvard Business School has a long history of educating leaders who make a difference in organizations around the world,’’ Sato said in a statement. “The Blavatnik Family Foundation’s establishment of this fellowship enables an extraordinary group of Harvard MBA graduates to nurture new technological innovations and take on leadership roles in new ventures specializing in research and development in the life sciences.’’

The plan is to admit from three to seven exceptional individuals each year through a competitive application process.

The 2013-14 Blavatnik Fellows are Ross Leimberg (MBA 2012); Daniel Oliver (MBA 2013); Steven Porter, MD, (MBA 2011); John Strenkowski (MBA 2009); and Ridhi Tariyal (MBA 2009), HBS said. Biographies of the fellows are included in the HBS press release.

According to that release, Blavatnik Fellows receive “a $95,000 stipend for a 12-month period, as well as additional funding for activities such as due diligence, market research, licensing options, and other relevant tasks necessary for working with inventors and Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development to determine the best route for the commercialization of a product.’’

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