SOM Student Secures Spot in Westchester Biosciences Accelerator Program
Ariel Yusupov, M.S., SOM Class of 2026, Was Selected for the Highly Competitive Program for His Biotechnology Startup F.I.G. (Factor Induced Gene) Therapeutics
Ariel Yusupov, M.S., SOM Class of 2026, is one of just 12 budding entrepreneurs chosen to participate in the Westchester County Biosciences Accelerator Program this year. Yusupov was selected for the highly competitive program for his biotechnology startup F.I.G. (Factor Induced Gene) Therapeutics, which developed a gene therapy, currently focused on prostate cancer, that utilizes over-expressing transcription factors in cancer to drive a multi-modal therapeutic.
Prior to medical school, Yusupov spent over a decade working in both academia and industry, for Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, where he led prostate cancer research and developed expertise in lipid nanoparticle-based RNA therapeutics and gene therapy.
“I developed this gene therapy, primarily as a means to overcome the resistance seen in current prostate cancer treatments, in between finishing graduate school and my career in industry, but I was never able to further progress it, until now,” says Yusupov. “The Westchester County Biosciences Accelerator Program was a perfect fit for what I needed and I’m thrilled to have been chosen to participate in this incredible program that provides opportunities for innovators like me to devote their future career to developing novel therapies that cure patients.”
Yusupov, who is currently conducting his proof-of-concept experiments through CROs (contract research organizations), had his startup chosen for the program after an extensive screening process that included an interview in front of expert scientists, active investors, and business strategists, who then rated the venture based on metrics, including the strength of the team, uniqueness of the insights into the problems they seek to solve, and their capacity to revolutionize the life sciences industry.
The goal of the six-month Biosciences Accelerator Program is to provide Yusupov with the necessary business education to assist him in developing a fundable business plan and a professional network by providing an entrepreneur coach, access to active business professionals, and preparation to pitch to investors.
“Through this program, I have the opportunity to attend a startup boot camp right on campus at New York Medical College's biotechnology incubator BioInc, meet regularly with mentors who are key opinion leaders in my field, receive assistance from experts with developing my business plan, patent strategy, and SBIR grant applications, and even have the chance to pitch to several venture capital firms. I am optimistic that participating in this program will help secure funding for my biotech startup, which I hope and believe will revolutionize the way we treat prostate and other cancers,” says Yusupov, who hopes to soon set up his lab at BioInc.