The Rice Biotech Launch Pad accelerator was announced on the 61st anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s moonshot speech. This initiative aims to develop new research and emerging technologies into practical clinical applications by bridging the gap between researchers, medical companies and healthcare professionals, Omid Veiseh said.
Omid Veiseh, an associate professor in the department of bioengineering and a biotechnologies entrepreneur, serves as the faculty director of the Launch Pad. Veiseh said the Launch Pad will support new discoveries through navigating regulatory procedures, manufacturing and business development.
“Our vision for this launch pad is to create the necessary infrastructure … to [think] about what the actual product would look like,” Veiseh said. “Our hope is now that we have the Launch Pad, we can bring in additional people from the university working on ideas that they wish to translate, having the structure and support.”
The current projects at the Launch Pad expand upon existing research at Rice and the Texas Medical Center such as cell therapy modality, which uses living cells to treat disease. Veiseh said he hopes the Launch Pad’s projects will result in real differences for patients in the near future.
“We work closely with the clinicians, who help identify where the unmet needs are,” Veiseh said. “It’s really important to get that clinician’s perspective because they are the ones that ultimately will be using the new technologies.”
The Launch Pad is currently working on three projects. The project’s goals are to produce usable medical technologies using the Launch Pad’s resources.