Cornell iGEM recognizes that synthetic biology is so much more than just work done at the lab bench. That’s why this year, we have decided to take our policy and practices to the next level by pursuing our fishPHARM idea from the perspective of a profitable business. To this end, we have engaged in the following entrepreneurial endeavors to facilitate the growth of fishPHARM as not only a synthetic biology based project, but as a locally-based business venture capable of curing BCWD worldwide.
Biotech Resource Center, McGovern Institute Family Center for Venture Development - We have spoken extensively with Marla Coppolino, the Director of Business Development and Outreach for the Institute of Biotechnology at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Marla has helped to guide Cornell iGEM through the business start-up procedure as well as connect Cornell iGEM to the necessary business experts on Cornell campus. At the McGovern Institute, we also presented fishPHARM to a potential investor with fish farm industry expertise, allowing us to develop a clearer hypothesis of customer demands.
eLab @ Cornell - eLab is dedicated to accelerating top Cornell University startups. Established in 2008, by Student Agencies Foundation in collaboration with Entrepreneurship at Cornell, eLab has worked with hundreds of students in turning concepts into real businesses . Cornell iGEM has collaborated with eLab to present fishPHARM at the eLab kickoff event in which team members networked with potential investors at Cornell University.
We wrote a feasibility analysis to assess whether fishPHARM provides desired and profitable products. Through a product feasibility analysis, industry feasibility analysis, organizational feasibility analysis, and financial feasibility analysis, we have decided that our business would not only be feasible, but would be profitable as well.
No business is complete without an in-depth business plan. We performed market, financial, and industry analyses, conducted market research, formulated a mission statement, and devised an organizational plan for fishPHARM. This information, and more, can be found in our business plan. This plan has undergone revision from Cornell professors and entrepreneurship experts, Professor John Callister, and Professor Michael Timmons. After more revision, this plan will be presented to investors.
Market Research - Cornell iGEM raised funds to develop fishBit prototypes to ship to local New York state hatcheries to help determine the usability and feasibility of our device given the market. See what local hatcheries said about our device here. Our market research also helped to determine who are our competitors are and how fishPHARM is a more economically and environmentally relevant compared to other fish tags in the market. We aimed to market our device to consumers as not only a fish tag, but as a drug delivery mechanism capable of treating BCWD.
Patenting through Cornell Center for Technology Licensing - We have pitched our idea to Cornell Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) and spoken extensively with CTL to continue the patenting process for our fish tag prototype. CTL suggested multiple design implementations to make our product not only more unique and valuable, but more user-friendly for the average fish farmer. We have filed an invention disclosure form with CTL and are currently in the provisional patenting process.