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Program helps local entrepreneurs get business ideas off the ground

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, writer Kathryn Roethel features Stanford's Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a Graduate School of Business initiative that helps student-entrepreneurs and members of the public get their business ideas off the ground.

Though the academic program isn't medically focused, numerous people, including some Stanford med students, have gone through the course to develop and commercialize medical/health-related products. One such former participant is Sam Mazan:

Mazin, an electrical engineer, worked in a medical imaging laboratory at Stanford University and was convinced that if PET scan technology could be improved, doctors would be able to better zero in on cancerous tumors during radiation treatments, minimize harm to surrounding healthy tissue and reduce side effects.

"I knew it could be built," Mazin said, "But I didn't know how to start a venture and get it into the hands of people who could use it. I didn't know anything about the business world."

Mazan's work in the course - which he says was "like a mini MBA program" - helped him develop a business plan and secure venture capital; today he runs the company Reflexion Medical.

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