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Slater Technology Fund Appoints Eight Entrepreneurial Fellows

Fellows Program Expanding Through Collaboration with STAC and RICIE

Providence, R.I., March 2, 2011 — The Slater Technology Fund today announced the selection of eight students from R.I.-based universities for its Entrepreneurial Fellows Program for the 2010-2011 academic year. Now in its third year, the program is a joint initiative between the Slater Technology Fund and the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR. In addition, Slater announced collaborations with the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) and the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RICIE), both organizations that play important roles in the evolution and development of Rhode Island’s emerging life sciences research enterprise.

The Entrepreneurial Fellows Program is designed to attract and support a next generation of entrepreneurs in the life sciences industry by drawing students from the state’s colleges and universities into active participation in the process of venture development. Fellows engage with both academic researchers and industry professionals to understand the process of start-up formation, the development of business plans, the recruitment of entrepreneurial teams, the raising of early-stage capital, and the implementation of commercialization strategies. A goal of the program is to better inform students of the career development options available within the life sciences industry and to help integrate them into the knowledge-based economy in Rhode Island

Launched initially in the 2008-2009 academic year, the program has awarded a total of 13 fellowships in its two-year pilot-scale implementation. With a new five-year funding commitment from the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR program commencing in the 2010-2011 academic year, the program will ultimately engage as many as 50 students as Entrepreneurial Fellows.

Individuals named to the 2010-2011 Fellows Program include:

Anthony Assad – Senior at Brown University, majoring in Biology;

Donald Bacoat, Jr. – Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rhode Island in the College of Environmental and Life Sciences;

Mark Bell – Ph.D. candidate at Brown University in the Dept. of Neuroscience;

Jason Chan – 1st-year student at Brown Universite’s Warren Alpert Medical School;

Rachel Decker – Masters student in Innovation, Management and Entrepreneurship at Brown University;

Kenneth Estrellas – Masters student in Artificial Organs, Biomaterials and Cellular Technology at Brown University;

Amy Gibson – Final year student in International Engineering (5-year program) at the University of Rhode Island; and

Bogdan Prokopovych – Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rhode Island in the College of Business Administration.

Through collaborative efforts with STAC and RICIE, the Entrepreneurial Fellows program will deepen the engagement of fellows in the life sciences research enterprise in Rhode Island. Fellows will support STAC in its goal to undertake a survey of the technology transfer function at leading research institutions in Rhode Island with a view to evaluating the functional capability at R.I.-based institutions in comparison with those of peer institutions. It is expected that the survey will inform the development of policy recommendations by STAC in its efforts to enhance the competitiveness of life sciences research in Rhode Island.

Fellows will also actively participate in the expanding array of programs offered by RICIE in support of innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. Now in its third year of operation, RICIE provides multiple pathways for students, academic researchers, entrepreneurs and investors to come together in both focused, topical programs as well as more generalized networking functions. The goal is to expand the range of career development options available to students upon graduation, in particular with new ventures and entrepreneurial startups.

"Slater is excited to introduce a new group of standout students to the venture development process," said Robert Valentini, MD, PhD, a graduate of and former faculty member at Brown and an experienced biotech entrepreneur. "With robust programs in innovation and entrepreneurship at local universities, students are graduating with increasing interest in pursuing opportunities along those lines. The Entrepreneurial Fellows Program is designed to make them aware of the opportunities that exist locally and to catalyze and improve the pathways for further pursuit. Rhode Island’s knowledge-based economy depends on this next generation of innovators." Dr. Valentini has primary responsibility for directing the Fellows Program during the 2010-2011 academic year. In that connection, he will be working with Slater managing directors and mentors drawn from Re’s expanding community of life science entrepreneurs.

About Slater Technology Fund
The Slater Technology Fund is a state-backed venture capital fund that invests in new companies committed to basing and building their businesses in Rhode Island. Slater focuses its resources on the support of entrepreneurs who have the vision, leadership and commitment to build substantial commercial enterprises. Slater typically invests at the inception stage in the development of a new venture, often based upon ideas and technologies originating in academic institutions and/or government research laboratories located within the region. In most cases, investments are premised upon the possibility of raising substantial follow-on financing, from venture capital investors or from strategic partners, with a view toward accelerating the generation of significant numbers of high-value, high-wage jobs over the intermediate to longer-term. For more information, visit www.slaterfund.com.

About the NSF RI NSF EPSCoR Program
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoe’s mission is to provide a platform to promote collaboration and cooperation among the Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education (IHE) and to enable alignment of our efforts with the needs of the state to increase research competitiveness, especially in marine life science and affiliated sciences. We believe this will improve the employment rate, provide more attractive employment opportunities, create new businesses, and preserve and strengthen our connection to Narragansett Bay, its watersheds, Rhode Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. The Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Academy fosters the integration of research, education, innovation and communication statewide. It works to: (1) develop the human capital necessary to support and sustain the growth of competitive research capacity in the life sciences; (2) broaden the participation of women and underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities in the STEM workforce; and (3) develop and maintain sustainable communication mechanisms to build and enhance a strong statewide network of the state’s and regioe’s scientists, institutions of higher education, and private and public sectors.

For More Information:

Laura Nelson or Kaycee Roberts
SVM Public Relations
(401) 490-9700