Activator, for next-generation bioentrepreneurs

Activator program

Our primary program begins with a “mutual-matching” team formation phase, followed by workshops and mentor office hours, culminating in a final pitch showcase before world-renowned judges.

01 Team Formation

Align scientists and MBA students interested in launching a venture. Facilitate self-matching process.

02 Strategy Support

Industry Mentors
Long-term guidance from experienced
entrepreneurs & biotech executives.

Legal Strategy
Navigate the IP and corporate law landscapes with guidance from legal experts.

Clinical Consulting
Work with clinical residents to explore unmet clinical needs and interview KOLs.

03 Hands-on Workshops

Iterate on key components of a science-first business thesis through deep-dive workshops with industry experts.

04 Professional Development

Enable networking with faculty, biotech executives, first-time founders, and VCs.

05 Final Pitch Showcase

Teams present to audience comprising of program mentors, renowned academics, industry veterans, and top-tier VC judges.

Focused on
big challenges


  • Therapeutics
    How do we develop safer and more effective drugs?
  • Diagnostics
    How do we diagnose diseases more reliably, cheaply, and earlier?
  • Tools
    How do we better understand and control biological systems?


  • Food & Agriculture
    How do we feed humans nourishing food in a sustainable way?
  • Chemicals & Energy
    How do we produce chemicals and energy from more sustainable sources?
  • Consumer Products
    How do we sustainably manufacture consumer packaged goods & materials?

Program benefits

Our program provides a proven and unparalleled competitive advantage
to begin the lab-to-market journey.

Expert Mentorship

Direct weekly support from successful biotech founders, operators, and investors through office hours and workshops.

Direct Feedback

Priceless one-on-one feedback from top-tier life sciences experts across the biotech ecosystem.

Build Your Network

Form powerful relationships with an exceptional cohort of executives, investors, scientists, and peers through exclusive Nucleate events.

Powerful Perks

Supercharge your scientific trajectory with perks from leading providers of CRO and cloud computing services, plus up to $10K funding.

Joining Nucleate

PhD, Postdoc, JD, MBA, MD, Master’s

Nucleate is for all current academic trainees who want to launch a life-science venture. Each participant may apply as a technologist or a generalist (to be matched during team formation phase), and should have approval from principal investigator and TTO if applicable. Team should be intending to ‘spin-out’ in the near future.


Empowering the next generation
of biotech founders


We find the most promising future bioentrepreneurs and early-stage research by partnering with the many institutes, departments, offices, and hospitals in our community. We then funnel our teams into a specialized program built specifically for life science commercialization.


We think carefully about the culture of our program. Over the course of 4 months, students and trainees engage in an in intensive hand-on learning curriculum and participate in numerous diverse networking opportunities. Our program is organized into 5 tiers that each provide valuable experiences.

Phase 1

Connecting Scientists and Business Students

Phase 2

Mentorship from experienced serial entrepreneurs and biotech executives

Phase 3

Deep-dive industry expert workshops

Phase 4

Networking with operators and VCs

Phase 5

Feedback from world-class VC judges

Application Timeline

AUG-OCT 2022

Applications are due October 1.

Technology Track
Scientists who have developed technology with commercialization potential.

Business Track
Business students with deep expertise in biotech, interested in entrepreneurship.

Clinical Track
Resident physicians interested in biotech and innovation help define the unmet clinical need.

OCT-DEC 2022

Semi-Finalist Selection
Nucleate Leadership evaluates applications and selects semi-finalists.

Scientific Pitch
Scientists present their technologies to semi-finalists.

Team Creation
Business students rank technologies by interest; scientists and business students mutually form teams.


Semi-Finalist Team Interview Nucleate Leadership interviews mutual-matched scientists and business students on program fit, vision, team dynamic, technology & IP.


Cohort Selection
Nucleate leadership selects final cohort.

Team Launch
Discuss and agree on individual and team goals.


  • What type of projects are available?

    Projects in life sciences that have not received any equity funding, but with preliminary POC data. Projects have received consent to participate from tech transfer offices, but have not yet licensed IP. Less than one year to the next inflection point that require substantial investment (translational academic or private)

  • What are the expectations on time commitment?

    It is project dependent, but can range from 5-10 hours/week including by weekly workshops

  • Do you take equity/ what does Nucleate get in return?

    The program is free and we do not take equity. Our passion is meeting and building a community of student bioentrepreneurs. We get to help you and that is what we love to do

  • What are the expectations on founder roles & equity?

    No implicit legal partnership formed via participation in program, unless voluntarily discussed during program. Members of a team are to be treated equally and fairly in this startup venture. Founder roles, rights and obligations to be discussed and negotiated in good faith upon program completion.

  • Who owns the IP?

    IP of tech previously developed in academic labs are owned by respective institutions. Teams are expected to obtain consent from respective tech transfer offices to enter Nucleate. Teams will work with tech transfer offices to build a compelling case to spin-out tech into startup