Startups in the Medical Sciences

Course Description

Majority of most early-stage emerging biomedical firms are coming from academic institutions. To leverage on the cutting-edge research performed by graduate students in the Institute of Medical Sciences, this course serves as a catalyst for innovation and growth. The introduction of novel commercialization concepts as well as providing real-time examples of companies in the industry will provide students a substansive understanding of being a founder or part of a startup.

Has your research or personal exploration sparked an idea you’re eager to pursue but feel overwhelmed on where to start and how to go about it? Well look no further as this course combines the technical fortitudes surrounding startups, specifically in the field of medical sciences. In addition to this, students will learn about the necessary soft skills of many successful founders. This 0.25 FCE course is primarily for students in a MSc or PhD program that would like to gain insight about startups. Topics discussed in the course include startup structure, value proposition, market and industry analyses, business planning, funding, and regulatory hurdles.

In light of inherent potential conflicts of interest, we prioritize transparency and have established clear guidelines for this course. Our instructor, who is also an entrepreneur, will openly disclose their roles and provide guidance regarding intellectual property (IP). These guidelines specify that students retain ownership of any created IP during the course. However, it is the student’s responsibility to not publicly disclose any pre-existing IP. This approach ensures that students’ IP rights are safeguarded within an ethically managed academic environment.

Course Objectives:

  • Students will develop the ability to critically analyze startup ecosystems, including the evaluation of market trends, funding dynamics, and regulatory landscapes
  • Students will become adept at strategic planning, learning to articulate the value proposition of scientific innovations
  • Students will learn to navigate the complex regulatory environments and ethical dilemmas surrounding data privacy and intellectual property in the startup landscape
  • Students will develop an understanding of the vital role of team dynamics in startup success, learning to communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders

Course Session Schedule for Winter 2024

The “Startups in the Medical Sciences” course starts on Wednesday, January 24th 2024 running for 6 sessions (see dates below) on Wednesdays. Discussion sessions will run from 6.00pm – 7.30pm in-person (room MS 3278 in the Medical Sciences Building at UofT) and virtually.

Startups in the Medical Sciences Syllabus

Lecture Recordings

Week 1: Introduction to Startups in the Medical Sciences

January 24, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 1


Week 2: The Value Proposition

January 31, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 2


Week 3: Markets and Industries

February 7, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 3


Week 4: Business Plan and Teams

February 14, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 4


Week 5: Funding and Money

February 28, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 5


Week 6: The Regulatory Landscape

March 6, 2024: (PDF) Lecture 6

Assigned video lectures are available my YouTube channel here (see playlists).