Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) and AstraZeneca (AZ) are looking for the next cohort of life-science startups to join the AstraZeneca Exchange Mentoring program.

AstraZeneca’s mentors, based at company offices in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Wilmington, Delaware, provide the startups with guidance and advice on research, business development and marketing, among other areas.

“The AZ Exchange program expands the long-standing collaboration between Johns Hopkins and AstraZeneca,” says Mark VanderZyl, associate director of startup advancement at FastForward, JHTV’s startup accelerator. “Our inventors and startups are able to gain valuable insights from industry experts to help advance their technologies and move closer to market.”

There is no fixed time commitment nor format for each mentor-mentee relationship. Some are single sessions devoted to predetermined questions or projects, while others are hackathon-style venture creation weekends or monthly check-ins.

“There are several examples where the mentors have really clicked with their startup company counterparts that has led to extended engagement and mentorship in more than one area as the relationship builds,” says Steve Twait, vice president of alliance and integration management at AstraZeneca.

Nine Johns Hopkins startups participated in April’s inaugural cohort, AstraZeneca’s first in the mid-Atlantic and only its second AZ Exchange Mentoring program in the United States.

Based on the first cohort, AstraZeneca is obtaining more mentors for the next cohort, particularly scientists in therapeutic areas other than oncology. Since 2016, the AZ Exchange Mentoring program has supported more than 400 startups around the world.

The cohort is scheduled to launch in the next few months. Johns Hopkins startups interested in joining should contact VanderZyl for more information.