Entrepreneurs and Executives-in-Residence Program

The Center for Innovation (CFI) Entrepreneurs and Executives-in-Residence (EIRs) program connects technologies under management with industry executives, serial entrepreneurs, and early stage investors to advance the development and commercialization of unique technology solutions for improving pediatric care.

EIRs lend their own industry, startup or investment experience to help guide and bolster one or more early stage assets.

Over the course of their engagement, EIRs will work closely with the CFI to evaluate candidate technologies and prioritize them based on their potential for commercial success. The EIR will help define milestones necessary to position the technology for outside investment and focus the innovators on achieving these milestones.

EIRs are involved in a range of activities, including:

  • Evaluation and prioritization of novel technologies based on clinical, technical and commercial risk, financing needs, investment potential, and other relevant criteria
  • Work with innovators to develop a business plan including product development and manufacturing, go to market and monetization strategy, regulatory strategy, financing strategy and strategic partnering
  • Connect team with domain area experts, investors, potential collaborators and team members
  • Refer other EIR candidates and consultants to the CFI as appropriate


EIRs must have the demonstrated ability and track record to work productively with clinicians, engineers, scientists, students, and other innovators to identify and solve problems, and possess business acumen and industry experience, particularly in early life science technology commercialization, new-venture creation, and fundraising.

Entrepreneurs and Executives in Residence

Neelima Firth is an entrepreneur in residence with the Consortium for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP). Neelima is an innovative and accomplished, biopharmaceutical leader with a record of turning projects into successful products. She has career experience from the UK and USA working for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology companies. She has 16 years of experience at Amgen in clinical, medical, reimbursement, marketing, alliance management and strategic planning.

Career highlights include working with the Alfred Mann Foundation to successfully spin out two companies - Axonics Modulation and Medallion Therapeutics. At Amgen she captained the reimbursement plan that accelerated product coverage and reimbursement by 3 months. She was part of the original team to develop the Amgen UK subsidiary.

Her therapeutic experience is focused on oncology and neurology and she has a strong understanding of the underlying payer drivers and barriers.

Specific areas that Neelima helps our teams are on:

  • Product Project Planning from animal to clinical to product
  • Financial analysis, modeling and forecasting
  • Pricing and reimbursement
  • Cultivating partner relationships for successful alliance management
  • Portfolio management for prioritization of projects, resource planning and ROI

Neelima has a degree in Information Science from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK and an MBA (summa cum laude) focused on Finance and Marketing from Pepperdine University. She is Past President of the Association for Strategic Planning and a thought leader in strategy and project planning.

Bhairavi Parikh, PhD is an entrepreneur in residence with the Consortium for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP). She is a serial entrepreneur with a track record in founding and growing startups as a visionary and executive in the field of medical diagnostics. She has raised over $100MM in venture financing, successfully taking products through development, clinical trials, FDA and to market. Bhairavi has specific expertise in integrating multidisciplinary technologies across biology, chemistry, optics, electronics and mechanics. Her breadth of experience includes blood- and breath-based diagnostics involving point of care and complex laboratory-based instrumentation and disposables. She has numerous published articles and issued patents. She most recently founded CellScape Corporation, a prenatal diagnostics company, prior to which she founded Apieron Biosystems in the asthma monitoring space. Bhairavi started her career as a sensor engineer at Natus Medical and holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.

Meeta Patnaik, MD is an entrepreneur in residence with the Consortium for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP). She has over 25 years of deep and varied experience in developing and commercializing over 300 first to market, clinical diagnostic assays and products in the USA and globally. She has expertise in technology evaluation and licensing, and a reputation for taking new concepts and developing them into businesses or marketable product lines.  She is experienced in fundraising, strategic planning, operations, and developing strategic partnerships for start-ups and publicly traded companies with her extensive network.

She was the head of R&D at Specialty Laboratories (NYSE:SP) Santa Monica for over a decade and was part of the executive team which successfully took the company public, before it was acquired by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX). She co-founded venture funded, Malibu based PathwayDx, an IP driven biomarker and diagnostics commercialization company, which was also acquired by Quest Diagnostics. She has served in various executive roles such as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Commercial Officer for several early stage and large diagnostic and biotech companies. She serves as Managing Director of Transtek Clinical Systems Inc., a global personalized healthcare and life sciences commercialization and advisory company. Prior to entering industry, Dr. Patnaik completed her medical degree from SCB Medical College, India, trained in Pediatrics and did post-doctoral work in Immunology and Infectious Diseases. She has been on numerous boards over the years and advised many non-profits. She has over 70 publications and is a frequent speaker in the personalized medicine space.

Bob Stavrou has more than 20 years of IT leadership experience within the Healthcare sector. He founded and sold software development companies specializing in diagnostic laboratory automation. The software he has created is used by hundreds of pathologists and hospitals throughout the US. He is a subject matter expert in the Anatomical Pathology Laboratory field, guiding highly skilled, cross-functional teams in the design, development, and launch of leading-edge technology solutions and processes, including on-line collaborative oncology and pathology systems.

Over the years, Bob has held many executive positions, with Word and Brown as Sr. Vice President, Technossus as Vice President, and has served as Vice President for both US Labs, and Specialty Laboratories. He has also served in a long term consulting capacity for Clarient, LabCorp, Quest, Genzyme, Neogenomics, Genoptics, and Agendia Labs.

Most recently Bob has also been engaged by Venable LLP, one of our country’s most prestigious law firms to act as an expert witness in support of laboratory technology, processes, and controls.