Starting this summer, startups at innovation hubs at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) have access to two new resources. Nicole Snell has joined JHTV in a new position — alliance manager for investment partnerships and translational funding — and Ricky Venters has come on as FastForward’s program manager.
Snell focuses on managing Bluefield Innovations, the collaboration between The Johns Hopkins University and Deerfield Management that is providing up to $65 million over five years to support the commercialization of early-stage therapeutic research at Johns Hopkins. Bluefield has one project in the pipeline and will issue its next request for proposals in the fall.
Snell also supports and tracks other translational funding programs to help Johns Hopkins faculty members, staff members and students move early research toward commercialization.
“I’m excited about the ability to fuse my love of science with business and commercialization,” says Snell, who recently received a Ph.D. in molecular medicine from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “I am looking forward to building relationships with established scientists and budding startups.”
JHTV in recent years has increased the number and scale of translational funding opportunities, most recently launching the Bisciotti Foundation Translational Fund. The nondilutive grants range from $20,000 to more than $200,000 over three years.
“Translational funding is an essential component in advancing the many discoveries at Johns Hopkins,” says Brian Stansky, senior director of FastForward. “Given the increase in funding opportunities, it is important we have a person dedicated to enabling these efforts.”
Venters oversees FastForward’s Mentors-in-Residence program and the National Science Foundation I-Corps program at Johns Hopkins, as well as other education programming and human capital management initiatives.
Venters was previously a program manager for Johns Hopkins’ HopkinsLocal program, partnering with businesses to support Baltimore residents and local and women- or minority-owned businesses. Venters worked with engineering, construction and law firms, among other businesses, to develop a 12-week course on business development for young companies. More than 70 companies went through the program, called the BLocal BUILD College.
“We designed the program to provide resources needed to build a sustainable company,” Venters says.
He wants to continue building the pipeline of resources for FastForward startups.
“There is an array of different technologies that come through Technology Ventures, and it’s the ability to be able to connect the dots with their next step … that’s what I’m really excited for,” he says.
Venters, who has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, says working for Johns Hopkins had been a dream of his since he was a boy. That’s a story he shares when working with youth programs through the university.
“Ricky joins FastForward with an established track record of supporting ventures,” says Stansky. “These experiences, combined with his technical background and engaging personality, make Ricky an ideal person to continue to build FastForward’s mentoring and educational programs.”