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Yale Lifesciences PitchFest 2020 Agenda Announced

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Yale Lifesciences PitchFest 2020 Agenda Announced

November 17, 2020. New Haven, CT. - Hosted by the Office of Cooperative Research (OCR), Yale Lifesciences Pitchfest is an annual event where the top biotech opportunities developing within Yale present their 5-minute pitches. Today, OCR announced the twenty-two projects and the investigators who will take the virtual stage to compete for cash prizes over two afternoons on December 3rd and 4th. Selected from a larger group of applicants, each project is a candidate for an accelerator award from the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale. Since 2016, Blavatnik outcomes include two FDA-approved INDs and 8 funded ventures that have raised $67MM.

“This year’s group of Blavatnik semifinalists represent a broad array of research we believe has the potential to make real impact on cancer, rare diseases and much more. Over the course of two afternoons, attendees will have the chance to watch the pitches live, and meet 1-on-1 with presenters, judges, sponsors and fellow attendees. Although virtual, we have designed this PitchFest to be as engaging and interactive as ever,” said Bill Wiesler, Director of New Ventures and of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, Office of Cooperative Research.

Yale Lifesciences PitchFest 2020 Presenting Projects:

  • Susan J. Baserga: RiboRupt Biotech interrupting ribosome biogenesis to cure cancer
  • Choukri Ben Mamoun: A novel therapy for pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration
  • Anton Bennett: MAP kinase phosphatase-1 inhibition as a target for NASH
  • Ranjit Bindra and Mark Saltzman: BrainStorm Cancer Therapeutics: Redefining the blood-brain barrier
  • Angelique Bordey: Preclinical candidate NT-001 for tuberous sclerosis complex seizures
  • Demetrios Braddock: Targeting NETs in human disease
  • Steve Chang: Clinical proof of concept of a Yale invention/product as a breakthrough treatment for autism
  • Joseph N. Contessa: Developing therapeutic OST inhibitors
  • Jason Crawford: Stilbene, a new antibiotic class for topical and systemic administration
  • Mark Fields: RegenaVision: Retinal therapies to restore vision
  • Anjelica Gonzalez: Aero Therapeutics, treating respiratory issues with sustainable, rugged and affordable devices
  • Junjie Guo: Discovery and optimization of novel compounds targeting programmed ribosomal frameshifting in RNA viruses
  • Sam Katz: Targeted therapy for T-cell lymphomas
  • Mustafa Khokha: Small molecule regulation of β-catenin nuclear transport, new targets against cancer
  • Themis Kyriakides: The Matrix Reloaded: Engineering materials for regenerative medicine
  • Brett Lindenbach: SARS-CoV-2 replicons for discovery of COVID-19 therapeutics
  • Nikhil S. Malvankar: Faster, reliable & scalable DNA sequencing using biomolecular electronics
  • Naiem Nassiri: Direct intralesional mTOR inhibition for targeted treatment of sporadic and syndromic venous and lymphatic malformations
  • Lajos Pusztai and Vignesh Gunasekharan: Miso Therapeutics, targeting cancer cells' metabolic isoenzyme addiction
  • Aaron Ring: Seranova Bio, discovering drug targets from clinical trials of nature
  • Faye Rogers: Direct targeting of amplified cancer driver genes as a therapeutic strategy
  • Joseph Vinetz: Development of camostat-related compounds for COVID-19 and other coronavirus infections
    1. Project summaries can be found here.

The awards ceremony will be held at the end of the event’s second day, Friday December 4th, with cash prizes awarded for the four best pitches. The judges panel consists of eight leading biotech and pharma investors.  The event’s lead sponsor is Shipman & Goodwin, along with sponsors Genesis Drug Discovery & Development (GD3), GenScript, GenScript PROBIO, and Piramal Pharma Solutions.

To learn more, and to register for Yale Lifesciences PitchFest 2020, please visit:

About the Yale Office of Cooperative Research:

Since its founding in 1982, the Yale Office of Cooperative Research (OCR) has built a significant portfolio of inventions and patents and has grown into an engine of regional economic development. Its mission is to facilitate the translation of research from Yale’s labs into products and services that benefit society. OCR is recognized as a leading force for catalyzing economic growth by identifying, counseling and nurturing early-stage technologies and guiding the transition into robust companies. More information is available at

About the Blavatnik Family Foundation:

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of world-renowned educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Russia and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, a global industrialist and philanthropist and the founder and chairman of Access Industries, a privately held industrial group based in the U.S. with global strategic interests. See more at


Michelle McQueen

Yale University

Office of Cooperative Research

+1 917-370-6016