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Dr. Anat Feldman
Business Development & Contracts Specialist, Fraser Health Authority
Dr. Anat Feldman stands out from most of her classmates in the Graduate Certificate in Science & Technology Commercialization (GCSTC) program, as she is not working on commercializing her own product. Instead, she has connected with a third-party researcher – who owns the patent on the invention – and is gaining the skills to bring the product to market in partnership.
“I am the entrepreneur and she is the scientist,” says Feldman. “This program is an opportunity for people who are working, but have a science background or are interested in science commercialization, to partner with someone else. It doesn’t have to be only if you are coming out of the lab with your own innovation.”
Feldman is building out the business case during the program and, once it is complete, will assess whether to take the innovation to market. And, while she is excited about this idea’s potential, even if it does not move forward to the next stage of commercialization she sees the skills she has developed during the program as opening up a world of possibility.
“If it’s not this one, maybe it will be a different innovation – there are so many patents out there in the Canadian universities that are just waiting to be licensed.”
Feldman has a deep grounding in science, having completed a PhD in biochemistry at Simon Fraser University in 2002. Since then, however, she has forged a career outside of the lab, working for 15 years in different roles in research administration. For the past five years she has been a business development & contracts specialist with the Fraser Health Authority, where she negotiates clinical trial agreements on behalf of the authority.
It was in this role that Feldman identified the areas of her expertise that she wanted to develop. “I came to realize that, while I understood pre-clinical drug development and clinical trials, I knew nothing about taking a medication and getting it into market,” she says. When she learned about Beedie’s GCSTC program, it immediately piqued her interest. “If this was available when I did my PhD I would have been an entrepreneur already,” Feldman says, and she is now taking the program’s classes alongside her existing job.
Through the program so far, Feldman has had the opportunity to develop and refine the business model by making multiple presentations, meeting with experts in the field and investors, hearing established entrepreneurs speak, and watching her peers in the program develop their own ideas. “As you evolve in your project, you see how other people evolve as well,” she says.
However, Feldman says the area where she has learnt the most is on the financial side, where the experiential approach – students have to develop the actual financials for their own projects – really helped her to understand the process and put the lessons into practice. She has also developed her understanding of intellectual property, negotiations, and analyzing markets and products, all of which have already proved useful in her existing role.
“If I stay in my current role, it’s still very valuable,” Feldman says. The skills she has developed have a direct application, as a part of her job is to identify possible funding opportunities in the healthcare sector, through the health authority: “It’s a win-win either way.”
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