Dr. Lee Henderson, CEO of Vybion, Briefs PGS

by | Nov 24, 2014

Dr. Lee HendersonOn October 29, 2014, Dr. Lee Henderson, CEO of Vybion Inc., a local biotechnology company, led a discussion on entrepreneurship and biotechnology careers as part of the BTI Postgraduate Society (PGS) professional development lunch series. Dr. Henderson described his own career pathway, which included 11 years spent at Tulane University School of Medicine and the Guthrie Research Foundation prior to founding Vybion in 1995. Dr. Henderson shared his experiences with navigating the transition from an academic setting to the biotechnology industry, describing the satisfaction of translating fundamental research into a tangible product that can be effectively commercialized. As an example of the power of partnership between small biotechnology companies and academic lab, Dr. Henderson shared his experiences as part of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, working to develop diagnostic assays and vaccines for Lassa Fever and Ebola.

VybionDiscussion between Dr. Henderson and the BTI participants touched on the opportunities and challenges for future expansion of the biotechnology industry in Ithaca. The development of the McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences has created a supportive business incubator environment on the Cornell campus, and Dr. Henderson discussed his involvement in the pre-seed workshop ( designed to determine the viability of new start-up concepts. Dr. Henderson described the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and the significance of this source of funding for early-stage companies. This seminar and discussion was an opportunity for BTI participants to gain perspective on the way science is done in the biotechnology industry, and on opportunities available for academic-industry partnerships. The 2014 BTI PGS professional development lunch series has featured a range of speakers discussing alternate career paths, technology transfer, and science communication. The final professional development lunch of the year will be on December 5rd, featuring Emma Granqvist, publisher for Plant Sciences at Elsevier.  The focus of her talk will be “How to become a good reviewer”. Dr. Granqvist received her PhD studying signaling in plant root symbiosis, and she will also discuss her career transition from academic science to publishing.  After this meeting the BTI postgraduate society professional development lunch series will resume in early 2015.”

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