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a business in which a company lab offers a service, at $5,000 to $6,000 per test, that offers physicians far greater confidence that, say, a $60,000 drug is going to be effective. The doctor would get the answer in 2-3 weeks, Carpenter says. This service could be ready for commercialization in about two years, he says.
Carpenter’s role in all of this is to help “refine” the Immuneering business plan, open doors for Zeskind with venture capitalists, and help make the company pitch to investors about one or two days a week, he says. He was introduced to this idea during the Harvard Business School Business Plan competition, when he was serving as an alumni judge, and a classmate of Zeskind’s brokered a meeting. Carpenter says he and Zeskind hit it off right away. “I was extremely impressed,” Carpenter says. “He’s a brilliant guy.”
Then Carpenter did what experienced mentors do, helping form a connection for Zeskind with Mara Aspinall, the former president of Genzyme Genetics, who agreed to sign on with Immuneering as a business advisor. (For readers who live outside Boston, this is the part where you can get jealous, and see why having a critical mass of talent in a biotech cluster is so important to starting companies.)
Zeskind sounds like the partnership he’s formed with Carpenter is helping him pick up a lot of things you can’t learn at Harvard Business School.
“Bob brings the wisdom that comes from decades of startup experience and a fantastic track record,” Zeskind says. “Bob has devoted his entire career to improving human health, and is passionate about Immuneering’s approach for harnessing the immune system to fight cancer and autoimmune disease. We work closely on a daily basis, and he is an excellent mentor. I think anyone who has heard our pitch would agree that we make a great team.”
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