Wayne State University

Translating innovative technologies from the bench to the clinic at Wayne State University

DETROIT – Wayne State University students from the Innovation Fellows program and the Business of Biotechnology course recently had the opportunity to meet with and hear from Stephen Chang, Ph.D., vice president of research and development at the New York Stem Cell Foundation, on his experiences moving novel therapeutic approaches from basic research through clinical development.  

Dr. Chang transitioned from academic research at the Howard Hughes Medical  Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine and also at the National Institutes of Health to become the founder and to play key leadership roles in a number of biotechnology companies including Viagene, Inc. (Chiron);   Canji (Schering-Plough), Stemgent and MultiCell Technologies.  Dr. Chang emphasized the importance and pathways of advancing disruptive, platform technologies, such as gene therapy, antibodies and stem cells, as new therapeutic approaches to disease. Dr. Chang provided key insights into the business of science which is critical to the successful translation of scientific discoveries to clinical practice.   

"As a postdoctoral fellow with a strong interest in technology commercialization, I found Dr. Chang's recent visit to Wayne State to be particularly eye-opening,” said Christian Reynolds, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow and Innovation Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine. “Not only did Dr. Chang provide insight into the inner workings of the biotech industry, but he was honest and willing to discuss his failures as well as his successes."

"It was interesting to hear how Dr. Chang navigated the pitfalls associated with running biotech companies, from getting funding and organizing a company, to re-organizing after an unsuccessful venture and trying again,” said Kevin B. Miles, Ph.D. candidate and Innovation Fellow, Department of Chemical Engineering. “It shows the flexibility required of successful entrepreneurs."  

The Innovation Fellows Program, sponsored by the Office of Technology Commercialization, is designed to generate the next generation of Chief Scientific Officers and entrepreneurial scientists for high tech industry with the skills and knowledge to advance technology from the bench to the marketplace.  Fellowships are offered on a competitive basis to highly qualified postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, who possess a strong interest in applied research, high-tech business and entrepreneurship. For further information contact Bramdon Dogwill at bramdon.dogwill@wayne.edu

The course, “Business of Biotechnology" (BMS 7100, IBS 7010), is designed to provide insight into the relationships between academic biomedical discovery and business development, focusing on the translation of basic research into commercial products and clinical practice.  The course includes presentations by scientific and business representatives from the regulatory, legal, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries and business school faculty. All Wayne State students, postdocs and faculty are welcome to attend the presentations.