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Nicole Black, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon Bio

Beacon Bio is a a biomedical device startup which launched to commercialize the eardrum-restoring PhonoGraft developed at SEAS, the Wyss Institute, and Mass Eye & Ear. The PhonoGraft device is a 3D-printed, biocompatible graft that could be implanted to repair a damaged eardrum. This technology has the potential to mitigate the pain and hearing loss associated with ear drum perforations that affect millions of individuals worldwide. The startup was recently acquired by Desktop Health, a division of Desktop Metal, a company specializing in new 3D printing and biofabrication solutions for personalized medicine.

Lab-to-Launch Lounge

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Nicole Black, PhD, is the Co-founder and former CEO of Beacon Bio. After a successful acquisition, she currently leads the platform as Vice President of Biomaterials and Innovation at Desktop Health. She was a doctoral student at SEAS, studying materials science and bioengineering in the lab of Jennifer A. Lewis, Sc.D., the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS and a Core Faculty member at the Wyss Institute. Her research and collaborations led to the development of the "PhonoGraft," a implantable device that enables full reconstruction of the native eardrum in vivo through regenerative graft technology.

Nicole completed her undergraduate education at Boston University’s College of Engineering before arriving at Harvard in 2014. During her undergraduate studies she worked at Vanderbilt University, University of Sydney, and Columbia University. During her graduate studies, Nicole was awarded a Marie Curie Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, and a Baxter Young Investigator Award.

One piece of advice to Venturing@Harvard

"Talk to all of the entrepreneurs that you can find while you're getting started on your venture. Don't be afraid to reach out to CEOs of successful companies that other founders that are very accomplished. People often assume that founders will not have time to talk to them, but I've found that most founders love to share advice, and it gives them motivation in return. Follow up after your meeting and ask a small favor of them, like a warm introduction to someone else in their network or a suggestion for a relevant funding mechanism. Remember the "Ben Franklin effect"-- people will actually like you more if you ask a small favor of them. Then, keep adding everyone you meet on LinkedIn -- you never know when a connection may be useful in the future. Boston is a very tight-knit entrepreneurial ecosystem."


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