Five women innovators to pitch ideas at Yale’s first ‘Dolphin Tank’ event

Barbara Ehrlich, Gloria Huang, Anjelica Gonzalez, Jean-Ju Chung, and Jun Chen.
Clockwise from top left: Barbara Ehrlich, Gloria Huang, Anjelica Gonzalez, Jun Chen, and Jean-Ju Chung.

Five aspiring entrepreneurs from the Yale community have been selected to pitch their startup ideas to business professionals at the university’s first Dolphin Tank. The Innovators from Yale University Dolphin Tank® event is a “friendly-feedback” session in which participants will receive constructive advice and practical insights following 3- to 5-minute pitches.

The virtual event  is hosted by Yale’s Office of Cooperative Research (OCR) and  Springboard Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that accelerates the growth of entrepreneurial companies led by women through access to resources and a global community of experts. It is sponsored by NavigatorBIO. The Dolphin Tank program was developed by Springboard Enterprises in 2010.

The event will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23.

We are delighted by the interest from Yale’s aspiring entrepreneurs to participate in this Dolphin Tank event,” said Morag Grassie, founding member of amplifyHERscience and senior associate director for the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale. “Each submission is uniquely promising, and we're happy to spotlight five of them. Project focuses include digital health, devices, and therapeutics. Each is at an early stage of development and are ready for partnering or investment opportunities.

We encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs, the VC community, potential pharma partners, and anyone interested in hearing about some of the exciting technology developing within Yale to attend virtually!”

The five presenters will include:

Jun Chen

Company: Playbl

Chen ’21 M.B.A. co-founded Playbl, which uses the power of serious health gaming to enable healthier and better lives for 40 million and more adolescents, targeting health outcomes including substance misuse, reproductive health, and mental health.

Jean-Ju Chung

Project: Novel small molecule male contraceptives

Chung, an associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine, seeks to develop a non-hormonal, reversible male contraceptive targeting sperm-specific ion channels that control sperm motility and fertility for a more comprehensive approach to birth control and equal participation in family planning.

Barbara Ehrlich

Company: Center Pharm

Through her company Center Pharm, Ehrlich, a professor of pharmacology and of cellular and molecular physiology at Yale, is developing a first-in-class drug to treat Wolfram Syndrome, a rare pediatric disease.

Anjelica Gonzalez

Company: Aero Therapeutics

Gonzalez, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science, co-founded Aero Therapeutics, which develops novel therapeutic solutions to respiratory problems, including a versatile, low-cost respirator that is going through clinical validation.

Gloria Huang

Project: New Treatment Strategy for ARID1A-mutated cancers

In her research, Huang, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, has discovered a novel function of the protein ARID1A, leading to the identification and validation of novel therapeutic targets for ARID1A-mutated cancers.

A panel of guest experts will provide live feedback to the presenters following their pitches: Angel investor Sylvia BcBrinn; Stacey Seltzer of Aisling Capital, and Rebecca Velez Frey of EvolveImmune Therapeutics. The event will be moderated by Anna Consani, vice president of community and strategic partnerships at Springboard Enterprises.

We are so honored that Sylvia, Stacey, and Rebecca agreed to participate,” Grassie said. “Each is so well-connected and knowledgeable about the commercialization process, and I know our presenters will benefit from their decades of experience and advice.”

For more information and to register for the event, which is free, visit https://dolphintankyale.splashthat.com/.

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