Joan Siefert Rose, former chief executive of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, has been named CEO of a fledgling nonprofit that will provide assistance to biotechnology and other life science startups across the country.
The organization, LaunchBio, is focused on “helping early-stage life science companies commercialize more quickly and achieve success” by helping them gain access to a plethora of resources, Rose said in an interview.
What’s especially intriguing, Rose continued, is that LaunchBio’s efforts will be concentrated in the nation’s leading life science hubs.
“While I’m based here (in the Triangle), the organization is headquartered in San Diego,” she said. “They also have partnerships in San Francisco and in Boston, and that may expand.”
Rose said that while she was with CED from 2008 through the end of last year, “we were able to do a lot to build the local community and the support network for entrepreneurs. What is appealing to me is the opportunity to connect entrepreneurs here with resources in other places, and likewise to connect entrepreneurs and networks in other places to what’s going on in North Carolina.”
“There’s never really been a single point person or group that has had that as its sole function,” Rose added.
Susie Harborth, LaunchBio co-founder and a board member, said in a prepared statement that life science entrepreneurs today “have access to an unprecedented amount of resources, but may lack the knowledge to find what’s available to them, learn to make effective connections, and then execute on those plans.”
Rose anticipates working with CED, the N.C. Biotechnology Center, the N.C. Biosciences Organization and other local groups in her new role.
“I see this as amplifying what is happening in this community as opposed to competing with it,” she said. “I think that is going to be true in these other places as well.”
LaunchBio was formed in 2015 and has a board of directors, but it hasn’t had anyone working full-time on its mission until now, Rose said. Initially, she’ll be working solo but “we are hopeful of having a staff as we get established in these communities,” she added.
Rose stepped down as CEO of local entrepreneurial support group CED at the end of last year and was named a senior partner at Creo, a management consulting and advisory firm in Research Triangle Park.
Rose isn’t leaving the consulting firm. Her role as CEO of LaunchBio “is an assignment I have through Creo,” she said.
LaunchBio received initial funding from BioLabs, a national network of co-working spaces for life science startups. BioLabs North Carolina is expected to open in Durham in the third quarter of this year, Rose said.
LaunchBio also will be seeking grant funding to support its work, Rose said.