Impact Human Healthcare at Scale

How Covid Has Connected Entrepreneurs Globally

It’s been almost two years since the first Covid lockdown. We thought we’d be locked down for two weeks.

Our amazing Biopharma Industry provided an exit in less than a year, vaccines that work. But we’ve tragically learned that science isn’t enough and here we sit at the end of 2021, waiting out Omicron.

I’m proud to be part of the industry that birthed life-saving vaccines. My industry’s success here evidences the power of entrepreneurship. The two leading vaccines came from mere startups 10 years ago, BioNTech and Moderna. Their stories mirror those of many startups – speculative, unproven science, persistence, pivoting from initial directions, committed teams and risk-taking financial investment. Without these ingredients eventually leading to a scientific triumph, where would the world be today in its Covid battle?

I sit in one of the great medical research institutions in the world, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Our scientists and clinicians are among the best in the universe. They have ideas steeped in deep science, refined from observations in clinical practice. My goal as head of Entrepreneurship is to help translate ideas to the commercial world so they can benefit human healthcare at scale.

Covid in 2020 presented an opportunity. Why not take our expertise in creating startups, leverage the Silicon Valley ecosystem we belong to and bring this knowledge to a virtual world? I created the idea of a global entrepreneurship course, “Entrepreneurship for Life Science/Healthcare Startups: Master Class Direct from Silicon Valley”. The course was in itself a startup experiment. We did what we teach: tested the market with the concept, listened to feedback and created a course that fed the startup appetite at a time we couldn’t leave our houses. We hypothesized the rest of the world would like to learn from our successful startup model. We held our breath and launched in September 2020.

Stephanie K. Marrus

Managing Director, Entrepreneurship

University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

December 30, 2021


We have an inclusive, open program and welcome global participants and Silicon Valley denizens.   Bringing together a diverse group broadens our perspective and translates into a higher probability of startup success.  Whether you have decided to start a company or simply wish to explore the start-up culture.

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