UAB MBA Program Inspires Biomedical Researcher to Start Company


Majd Zayzafoon, MD, Ph.D., is the owner and chief operating officer of Novicure Biotechnology who credits his UAB School of Business MBA Program experience for his successful start-up.

The biomedical research company is discovering novel drugs to prevent prostate cancer metastasis, or its potentially fatal spread to a patient’s bones.

Zayzafoon, who is a researcher and Associate Professor in the UAB Department of Pathology, says he started Novicure Biotechnology after being exposed to the best-business practices taught by the MBA program faculty.

“As I progressed through my MBA lectures at UAB, my brain was being rewired,” Zayzafoon says. “This invaluable exposure to business taught me that I could do something with my research and industry expertise.”

On April 16, Zayzafoon’s MBA-inspired company could be named the state’s most promising start-up when the winner of the 2010 Alabama Launchpad competition is named. The contest is a partnership between the state's university, business and economic development communities to encourage and support innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship in Alabama. The winning company receives $100,000 in seed money. Novicure Biotechnology is one of nine finalists for the prize.

“Launchpad is an important player in supporting Alabama entrepreneurs, and I am pleased to be affiliated with this year’s competition,” Zayzafoon says. “I really wouldn’t be in the position to win the competition without the mentoring and positive influence of my UAB business professors.”

Novicure Biotechnology, which opened for business in August, has already secured the interest of leading research and pharmaceutical companies as it looks to commercialize its discoveries, which could help prevent prostate cancer from becoming fatal in the future.

“Just as I learned in the MBA program, we’ve built a strong business model that is generating two independent streams of revenue and will fund our continued research into drug discovery that will hopefully stamp out prostate cancer fatalities,” Zayzafoon says.

For more on Novicure Biotechnology and the other UAB teams in the finals of the 2010 Alabama Launchpad competition click here.