The Entrepreneurship Program

In this era of Covid, the Entrepreneurship Program at UCSF has converted to a global online course, “Entrepreneurship for Life Science/Healthcare Startups:  Master Class Direct from Silicon Valley”.  The course is open to anyone with an interest in learning about startups and connecting with the Silicon Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Find Out More

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.


The experiment worked. We completed our third cohort in December 2021 and now have over 300 alums from 18 countries and 5 continents. These professionals from the US, Canada, Mexico, South America, Asia, Australia, Eastern, and Western Europe are entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs, and people supporting the startup ecosystem. Thanks to UCSF’s global class, they are part of a network of like-minded colleagues and the Silicon Valley experts who taught and mentored. Our participants have learned from life science/healthcare practitioners who contribute to the Valley’s outsized success as a startup ecosystem.


This course has changed lives, bestowing confidence and motivation for healthcare professionals to follow an entrepreneurial path. Maybe one of them will form the next BioNTech or Moderna.


Stephanie K. Marrus

Managing Director, Entrepreneurship

University of California San Francisco, Innovation Ventures




What We Do

  • Translating Science/Commercialization
  • Start a Company

Our Team

  • Stephanie Marrus, MBA, MA

    Managing Director of Entrepreneurship

    Stephanie Marrus is the Managing Director, Entrepreneurship. Her mission is to help start companies from UCSF science and technology and to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University. Since joining in 2012, she has developed a robust suite of programs that have contributed to a vibrant entrepreneurial community at UCSF. In addition to heading the program, she teaches and mentors startups and is Senior Lecturer/Course Director for...

    Read more