What is it like to be a first-time entrepreneur? In some ways, I imagine it is like mountain biking. There are parts that are uphill and parts that are fast moving and exhilarating…Also probably a good idea to keep an eye out for the steep drop-offs.
In my case, I had spent much of my life in academia. I heard a few exciting stories from colleagues about people they knew in start-ups, and perhaps I saw the Social Network one too many times. I read news about start-ups who seemed to quickly raise massive amounts of money for ideas that didn’t seem that groundbreaking to me. If they could do it, why can’t I?
The reality is, of course, a little different than the mythology. I’m looking forward to discussing what I learned, some common misconceptions, and provide some more clarity as to what it is like to be a first-time entrepreneur. Ultimately, it is a great endeavor, but a little different than most expect.
Prior to founding EvoRx, Dr. Fiacco earned his PhD in the lab of Prof. Rich Roberts at the University of Southern California. He is an inventor on 5 patents and an author in 5 related publications.
Dr. Stephen Fiacco is a founding member of a local biotech company, EvoRx Technologies. There he serves as CEO where he oversees its general operations and business development. In this role, Dr. Fiacco has advanced the business through multiple negotiations of collaboration and license agreements with large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies. During one of these deals, intellectual property was created and sold to AstraZeneca. Other deals are ongoing and not able to be publicly disclosed, but have resulted in licensing arrangements. Additionally, he and his team had applied for and received a phase I SBIR contract from the National Cancer Institute. That work was successful, and Stephen and his team applied for and received a phase II SBIR grant. Work on the grant is currently ongoing. A major pharmaceutical company has expressed interest in partnering around and eventually acquiring the technology generated by those grants.
Dr. Fiacco is actively involved in the Los Angeles biotech community serving on the advisory board of Biocom LA and had previously served on the board of directors at Innovate Pasadena. In March of 2017, Dr. Fiacco was invited to travel to Washington DC to as a representative of the Los Angeles biotech community to discuss this growing industry in southern California as well as the social and economic importance of National Institute of Health funding.