California Life Sciences partners with the MESH Academy at the Keck School of Medicine of USC to provide a comprehensive startup advisory program



LOS ANGELES, Calif. – California Life Sciences (CLS) and the USC MESH Academy are partnering to bring a new groundbreaking opportunity to faculty entrepreneurs at the Keck School of Medicine of USC this fall.

CLS’ acclaimed FAST Advisory Program matches early-stage life sciences startups with a customized team of industry veterans to help them commercialize their discoveries. A new dedicated FAST-USC MESH track will bring these advisory services to entrepreneurs from USC as part of CLS’ expansion of the FAST program to Southern California.

“We’re excited to bring this partnership together in the booming and dynamic Los Angeles Innovation hub.  Not only does this highlight our commitment to early-stage innovation, but it increases our support of diverse founders and communities in Los Angeles,” said Mike Guerra, CLS President, and CEO.

The FAST Program provides select entrepreneurs with intensive team review and coaching to perfect their business model, product development plans, and build a compelling commercialization strategy. Emerging innovators benefit from the advice of industry veterans—selected from a network of more than 425 professionals during the 12-week program. The program culminates with a showcase and reception, where the companies present to a distinguished audience of potential investors and collaboration partners.

The FAST-USC MESH track will serve two USC faculty-led startups annually, providing them with about $25 thousand of pro bono advisory services.

“USC MESH Academy is proud to be the first national academic institution to partner with CLS FAST. Start-up ventures are extremely challenging, and by offering USC faculty entrepreneurs access to this exciting program, we hope to increase the odds of success and inspire other entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Vasiliki Anest, senior director of Business Development and Industry Relations at MESH Academy.

“The intersection of academic research discovery and getting the technology out into the wild is what I’m passionate about,” said Stephanie Allen, Ph.D., CLS director of Innovation Services, leading FAST’s roll-out in Southern California. “Risky ventures, early in development, are historically the technologies that disrupt industries. We’re excited to be part of it.”

The Keck School of Medicine’s rigorous research portfolio spans basic, clinical, translational, and population research. It utilizes multi-disciplinary collaborations to provide solutions for the health problems facing local and international communities.

“Together with CLS, we’re supporting a vibrant and diverse startup culture to supplement the exemplary academic programs at USC, said Dr. Carolyn Meltzer, dean of Keck School of Medicine of USC. “By connecting to the expert resources provided by CLS FAST, we’ll strengthen the bioscience innovation ecosystem at USC and work to meet the challenges in human health and disease.”

The USC MESH collaboration is part of the new FAST SoCal program launching this fall. Click here for application information.

About California Life Sciences (CLS) is the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, advocating for the sector and its diverse innovation pipeline. For more than 30 years, CLS has served the community by supporting companies of all sizes, from early-stage innovators and startups to established industry leaders in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology. CLS also works closely with universities, academic and research institutions, the investment community, and other critical partners that promote this vibrant sector. With offices in South San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, CLS works to shape public policy, improve access to breakthrough technologies, educate lawmakers, and advance equity within our ecosystem by championing innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In doing so, CLS fulfills its mission to protect and nurture California’s life sciences industry, empowering discoveries that lead to healthier lives around the world.

About USC MESH Academy

The MESH Academy at the Keck School of Medicine of USC (“USC MESH”) is a joint initiative supported by the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Office of the Provost. Solving big challenges in human health and disease requires convergence—the meshing of ideas, expertise, and approaches to create innovation pathways from concept to breakthrough. The mission of the MESH Academy is to empower the convergence of research disciplines through connection and collaboration to address challenges in human health and disease. Follow us on Twitter  @USCMESH  or


Media Contact:

Alex Burch

Communications Manager

California Life Sciences

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