Biotech graduate Ziona Isaacs

For her capstone project for Lucerna, Inc., a biotechnology startup, Ziona Isaacs, a recent graduate of the Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship master’s program, developed a commercialization pathway for the company’s machine learning-guided RNA assay technology platform for early drug discovery.

“I conducted extensive market research and landscape analysis to gain an understanding of the current market for their technology and utilized my findings to help strengthen their grant proposal” said Ziona. “I also developed a stakeholder map and a Business Model Canvas highlighting the key elements of the company’s business plan.”

Karen Wu, Lucerna CEO and co-founder, said of Ziona, “I got a chance to work with a talented student who was able to quickly understand our company’s technology and performed in-depth market analysis and customer discovery. Her final report was informative and provided many valuable recommendations. She even uncovered a new viable product application that we have not considered before.”

In her customer discovery and analysis, Ziona surveyed the opinions of companies in the field to improve the design and marketing of Lucerna’s product. Based on this work, she was able to make several recommendations to the company on how it could best leverage its technology in the current market. This included raising the possibility that Lucerna could play a significant role in broadening the impact of personalized medicine by using its robust assay platform to identify patients with specific genetic mutations who can benefit from personalized therapeutics that have already been developed for their disease and mutation.

In her second semester, Ziona secured an internship from a guest lecturer as a research assistant for the business development team at BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. Ziona said the Katz program had excellent professors and lecturers, providing her with a network of professionals in the field who were able to share their first-hand experiences and expertise.

“I would like to thank the program director, Dr. Rana Khan, as well as my professors and fellow students for contributing to a wonderful learning experience focused on innovating and furthering the growth and future impact of biotechnology,” said Ziona. “The master’s program gave me a broad knowledge and understanding of the many aspects that go into developing and managing a biotechnology company.”

Click here for the Bright Futures Scholarship Initiative that will enable you to get a master’s degree in any one of eight Katz School science and technology programs for a fix tuition of $25,000.

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