As Indiana looks to invest more in startups, a new group is forming to help physicians and life science entrepreneurs innovate successfully.
A number of central Indiana health and life sciences professionals, as well as venture advocates including faculty, students and alumni of the Kelley School Business of Medicine Program have founded SoPE Indiana, a regional chapter of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SoPE).
First started in 2011 by physicians seeking to catalyze healthcare innovation through entrepreneurship, SoPE is a non-profit biomedical and clinical innovation network. It has nearly 25 chapters across the globe and almost 30,000 members and followers.
“There’s no arena more in need of innovation and entrepreneurial thinking than healthcare. Physicians are extremely entrepreneurial. In many cases, however, they just don’t have the tools and relationships to convert their ideas into a venture or share innovations,” explained Todd Saxton, co-founder of SoPE Indiana and associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Kelley School. Saxton teaches in the Kelley Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program, where he says students and alumni alike are interested in innovating within their own institutions, starting something new or getting involved in the startup arena through advising or investing.
“The SoPE Indiana chapter will focus resources on education and networking for entrepreneurs in the life sciences,” explained Saxton. “We hope to bring together clinicians, other care team members and participants in the life science community, as well as potential funding sources.”
Paul Szotek, MD, MBA’18, a hernia surgeon and CEO of the Indiana Hernia Center, says he pursued the Kelley Physician MBA after a failed venture attempt. Now, he joins Saxton as co-founder of SoPE Indiana.
“Physicians, nurses, and clinicians have ideas, but we don’t necessarily understand how to execute an idea or understand the business end of it,” said Szotek. “SoPE Indiana will create an ecosystem for physicians. It will provide the resources they need to raise money, to put together a team and to manage and market a business.”
SoPE membership is open to anyone in the health and life sciences, including, but not limited to, doctors, nurses, dentists, healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, IT professionals, and industry representatives.
“The ecosystem in Indiana is ripe for aggressively driving life sciences innovation,” said Luke Pittman, MD, MBA’14, a family physician and healthcare innovator who will serve as an executive committee member for SoPE Indiana. “We don’t need to wait for coastal innovations or money to trickle down to us ‘humble Hoosiers.’ We have the opportunity to take the reins ourselves. SoPE Indiana is part of that vision by convening enterprising physicians and life sciences innovators in a community focused on bringing the future of healthcare to the present.”
SoPE Indiana is sponsored and supported by the Kelley School of Business, Ice Miller, Elevate Ventures, TelaBio, Char Blue, and a growing list of others.
“With the addition of an Indiana chapter to SoPE, Elevate Ventures is eager to see more Hoosier healthcare entrepreneurs and life sciences startups engage in Indiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Ting Gootee, chief investment officer at Elevate Ventures.
“Physicians play a central role in the adoption and success of medical devices, diagnostic tests, pharmaceuticals and health IT. We are essential in the bench-to-bedside phases of innovation. SoPE Indiana will enable entrepreneurs in these areas to reach not only clinicians and innovators in the life sciences space, but investors as well,” added Frank Lloyd, MD, MBA’15, who is the founder of a medical device company, a graduate of the first Kelley Physician MBA class and a SoPE Indiana executive committee member.
SoPE Indiana will host an inaugural meeting June 21 at 5:30 PM. For more information and to register, check the SoPE Indiana website here. Questions can be directed to Todd Saxton at firstname.lastname@example.org.