Launched in fall 2021, the program quickly amassed support from premier institutions, investors, entrepreneurs, and scientists.

The following was written by Joseph Choy, FastForward U’s communications intern.

The Baltimore chapter of Nucleate, a student-led, nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering early-stage, life-science startups and emerging biotech leaders, hosted their Final Pitch Showcase in May. This event serves as the conclusion of the 2022–23 Activator Cohort, the organization’s flagship program, which brings together academic scientists and MBA students to catalyze the lab-to-market process. Across the organization, more than 250 ventures have participated in the program, raising a combined total of $190 million to date.

This year, five biotech entrepreneur teams competed in the showcase, with CICS Analytics winning first prize. The company’s co-founders, Sixuan Li and Joshua Wolfe, are transforming nanomedicine delivery with a novel platform that allows analysis of a single nanoparticle with unprecedented accuracy. The team will go on to represent the Baltimore chapter at Nucleate’s annual summit in late August this year.

Anson Dang, co-managing director of Nucleate Baltimore, highlighted the support that FastForward U has provided to the organization as the chapter grows in Baltimore and the surrounding area. “All of the staff at FastForward U, in particular Josh Ambrose and Elena DeBold, have been invaluable in making our programs successful. There is a strong spirit of collaboration between the two organizations, and we believe that there is an excellent alignment of goals. Since Nucleate is entirely run by students, Josh has been a crucial ally in amplifying our work and providing networks, connections and mentorship through the process.” says Dang.

CICS Analytics co-founders Joshua Wolfe and Sixuan Li

Dang also encourages anyone with any level of interest in entrepreneurship to be immersed and gain experience by participating in one of the several initiatives in the community. Having worked with both venture teams and venture capital inventors, he tells teams to focus on value creation and to continually seek advice from people of diverse backgrounds.

Founded in the Fall of 2021, the Baltimore chapter of Nucleate is a nascent development in the organization’s reach. In this short period of time, the chapter has established itself as a pillar in the Johns Hopkins student entrepreneurship community. Josh Ambrose, director of student ventures, emphasizes the impact that the organization has made: “Nucleate is a dynamic student initiative to further connections, mentorship and opportunities for our student-led life-science teams on campus. Their work over the past two years is impressive, and we’re proud to partner with and support their efforts to encourage innovation here at Hopkins.”

Students interested in participating in FastForward U accelerators can submit applications here when programs open in the Fall of 2023. Questions can be directed to [email protected].

Those interested in next year’s Nucleate activator can email [email protected] for information prior to registration.