Project? Hobby?….or COMPANY?

April 2, 2019

Speaker Slides

How Do You Turn Your Hobby or Project into a Business?

Tanya Kanigan, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Genomic Expression

Project, Hobby or Company? Building Quality into Your Product

Charlie Maher, MBA, Executive Director, Performance and Reliability, CAI

So You Have a Real Business. Now What?

Brian Popiel, Group CFO/COO, COSIMO Ventures

Great startups begin with intrepid entrepreneurs, bursting with creativity, energy – and the ability to cope with sleep deprivation is often helpful. Also, an essential component to a successful startup is a great idea – an idea that can be commercialized or monetized in some way. Some successful companies can be spawned from a hobby – say for example, Zuckerberg’s online student directory and photo sharing program – or an interesting research project that can be massaged into a commercial product, like Humira (adalimumab), from Cambridge Antibody Technology. However, not all projects or hobbies will ever be anything more than an interesting tool or a pleasant way to pass time. Our panel of experts will help to clarify what it takes to make a company. Join us for a compelling discussion and for some great networking.


6:30-7:30 PM – Registration & networking

7:30-7:40 PM – ENET Chairman’s announcements

7:40-7:55 PM – eMinute – Up to 3 Startup companies’ presentations

7:55-8:45 PM – 3 expert speakers on the night’s topic

8:45-9:00 PM – Audience / Speakers Q & A

900-930 PM – Final networking includes meeting presenting speakers

A question and answer session follow the presentation, and panelists will be available afterwards for responses to individual questions. As with every ENET meeting you will also get the chance to network with the panelists and other meeting attendees, both before the start of the meeting and afterwards.


Tanya Kanigan, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Genomic Expression

Tanya is a scientist, entrepreneur and executive, experienced in developing and commercializing innovative biomedical technologies and leading inter-disciplinary teams. In her current role as COO of Genomic Expression, she is building the operational infrastructure and data analysis engine for a clinical RNA sequencing service for personalized medicine. She also provides consulting services to other life science companies, advising them on technical aspects of developing microfluidic bioinstrumentation, identifying market opportunities for novel technologies, and obtaining non-dilutive funding. While a postdoctoral at MIT, Tanya developed the OpenArray, the technology basis for the startup BioTrove, which she co-founded and then sold to Life Technology.

Steve Gullans, Ph.D., CEO, Gemphire Therapeutics

Steve is an experienced biotech exec, venture investor, scientist, entrepreneur, and author. Prior to his leadership at Gemphire, he was Managing Director at Excel Venture Management. He has held executive and board positions in a number of private and public companies. Steve loves innovation and has spoken widely, including at TED, TEDMED, and TEDx.  He co-authored Evolving Ourselves, a book that provides a sweeping tour of how humans are changing the course of evolution—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Steve began his career as a professor at Harvard Medical School where he published more than 130 scientific papers and was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Charlie Maher, MBA, Executive Director, Performance and Reliability, CAI

A proven leader who builds high-performing teams, Charlie enables life science firms achieve ambitious goals for the development and manufacture of novel therapeutics and medical devices.  He works with clients to deliver innovative technical and business solutions that create exceptional value for patients, sponsors and investors.  He provides clients with experienced leadership to drive critical phases of the product lifecycle including process validation, manufacturing strategy, supplier selection, tech transfer and scale-up, commissioning and qualification and product lifecycle management. Charlie has over 25 years of experience leading organizations in the biopharma industry and in the United States Navy, including director-level leadership of several multi-million biopharma engineering projects, Commanding Officer of a nuclear-powered submarine and Chief of Staff of Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Navy’s 7,000-person organization for research, development, acquisition and lifecycle support for undersea weapon systems.

Brian Popiel, Group CFO/COO, COSIMO Ventures

Brian is a finance specialist with an extensive background in technology, fintech and financial services. His diverse career has allowed him to garner valuable skills and experience in finance, management, operations, compliance, and law.  After starting his professional career as a corporate lawyer at Holland & Knight, Brian then spent most of his career in key roles at Venture Capital and Investment Management firms, including SOFTBANK, Independence Investments, a Manulife Financial company, and Amundi Pioneer, where his work consisted of researching, assessing and investing in a wide range of businesses – both public and private.  Most recently, Brian served as the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of ObserveIT Inc., a Bain Capital Ventures-backed cybersecurity company.   He holds an A.B., cum laude, from Harvard University and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.


Roger Frechette, Ph.D., Founder and Principal, NEPAssociates

My daily purpose is to exercise an innate drive to transform ideas and projects into life-changing commercial assets. In the life science business, this is the long game, requiring boundless energy and creativity, coupled with knowledge, experience, and patience.

In my consulting work, I leverage an extensive global network and insights derived from >20 years of experience in business development, calibrated with an extensive science background. My career has encompassed success as a business executive, project/alliance manager and entrepreneur, and also as a scientist, including leadership of discovery/preclinical development teams resulting in a new drug candidate – NDAs for omadacycline submitted by Paratek in early 2018.

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