Update on COVID-19: The Harvard Innovation Labs has always been a hub for inventive thinking. All our programming and events will continue virtually. We will email Zoom information after you register.
Overview: Please join us on Thursday, April 30th from 5:00 to 6:00pm for our final Life Science & Healthcare Fireside Founder Chat of the spring term with Dr. Nik Kojic M.D. Ph.D., EiR at Takeda. He’s joining us to discuss the circuity and excitement of his highly multi-disciplinary journey as an entrepreneurial-scientist. Nik and the i-lab’s Mike Fenn will discuss his career journey building startups & conducting academic research, and now as an entrepreneur-in-residence building an innovative new venture from within one of the world’s largest biopharma companies.
Speaker:Dr. Nik Kojic M.D. Ph.D., EiR at Takeda
Speaker Bio: Nikola (Nik) Kojic is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he is working on incubating a startup-like neuroscience idea within a Big Pharma organization. Prior to Takeda, Nik was Head of Biology Discovery at VL51 – an early stage Flagship Pioneering company at the intersection of neuroscience and gastroenterology. Before Flagship, Nik served in various key roles at Portal Instruments, a clinical stage biotech company developing a revolutionary needle-free subcutaneous injection platform. He joined Portal as employee #3, when it was an MIT spinoff from the lab of MIT Prof. Ian Hunter. He remained the only MD and PhD during his tenure, which included head of clinical and scientific development and culminating as Vice President of Clinical Development. Over this 4-year period Nik helped grow the company to 40 people, and in late 2017 Portal closed a $100M development deal with Takeda Pharmaceuticals for their blockbuster IBD drug Entyvio. Prior to Portal, Nik had a prolific academic career, which took him from a Mechanical Engineering undergrad at UC Berkeley to MIT for a MS in Mechanical Engineering, where in a series of first-author papers he helped uncover how spiders produce their miraculous silk fibers.
After his MS, Nik then received his MD-PhD through the Harvard Medical School – MIT program (HST). His PhD mentor was Dr. Jeff Drazen, who is the editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and Distinguished Parker B. Francis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. While in Dr. Drazen’s lab, Nik focused on asthma and helped elucidate fundamental mechanisms of how mechanical stimuli are transduced by airway epithelial cells and lead to asthma progression. After his medical training at Harvard Medical School (MD), he completed two postdocs: one at Tufts University working on novel silk-based biomaterials and one at the Center for Engineering in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital where he made key contributions in the area of cancer metastasis and circulating tumor cells. During his academic career, Nik published over 25 peer-reviewed papers (>10 first author) in various journals such as Nature, Biophysical Journal, Experimental Biology, and also authored a textbook entitled Computer Modeling in Bioengineering (published by John Wiley). He also holds one patent and has another patent pending.