SCIENTIST & ENTREPRENEUR IN RESIDENCE
Hilary appears in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs magazine.
Empowering Biotech Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Hilary Schultz, a visionary founder, scientist, and entrepreneur, is on a mission to reshape the landscape of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their early development stages. With an impressive educational background and a wealth of experience, Hilary's primary goal in this phase of her career is to make a significant impact on the field of medicine. Her journey to this point has been characterized by a relentless pursuit of breaking down barriers and fostering innovation driven by a strong determination to make a difference in the world. Her passion propelled her first to medicine then to early success in business, building international franchise models at the age of 22, with multi-million-dollar engagements in sectors including gas and electricity, brokering, banking services, and investing in companies across diverse sectors. Now armed with a powerfully diverse set of skills and insight, she acts as a catalyst to ignite new discoveries in medicine and biotech.
Hilary's educational journey laid the foundation for her remarkable career. She is a current PhD student in Bioengineering focused on commercializing a pulmonary fibrosis treatment therapy at Drexel University. She holds an MS in biomedicine and business from the same institution, as well as a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in biology cum laude from Harvard University. Her dedication to academic excellence as a first-generation college graduate is further exemplified by her training in Physiology, Pharmacology, and Immunology at Harvard Medical School.
At Nucleate, Hilary's focus is on scaling a sustainable activator program aimed at bridging the gap between laboratory discoveries and commercialized markets. Nucleate is a nonprofit, student driven organization that supports thousands of eager biotech entrepreneurs in 30 global regions.
She is passionate about providing early-stage companies with the knowledge and tools they need to bring their technologies to the forefront of the biotech industry. Through her role as Entrepreneur in Residence in Philadelphia, Hilary’s hands-on involvement includes advising academic scientists, navigating intellectual property, and steering experimental design to de-risk technologies. Furthermore, she plays a pivotal role in bolstering the biotech entrepreneur and early company formation ecosystems within the Philadelphia area.
Hilary’s motivation and mission are one in the same: to address the pain points limiting the number of therapies that make it to patients. “Too many diseases are left without any hope of cures. I aim to focus my efforts so that fewer clinicians have to say, ‘I am sorry, there is nothing else we can do for you,’” she explains.
We met with Hilary to explore her current work, what she sees for the future, and the events that changed her destiny from would-be doctor to an engine of biotech innovation and a champion of the medical community determined to make a powerful impact on medicine—and the patients whose lives depend upon it.
Hilary, what inspired your decision to join Nucleate?
I joined Nucleate as VP of operations, and later founded Organizational Development as EVP. My previous business experience allowed me to implement significant changes that have contributed to marked growth and the transformation from a startup into a stable and enduring global organization.
Nucleate serves as the catalyst for companies to spin out successfully by providing invaluable information and resources that address voids in the realms of medicine, academia, and big pharma. I hope that my work will continue to make a lasting impact on medicine and support the future innovators of science.
With your extraordinary culmination of skill sets and passion to make a difference, what do you hope to achieve in the coming years?
I’m very excited about what’s coming on the horizon, and I’m eager to help propel these advancements to deliver new potentially life-changing and life-saving treatments. There are a few I’d love to share with you.
First, I am currently co-founding companies that aim to treat diseases like anti biotic resistant bacteria, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary fibrosis. I equally deploy my executive, fundraising, and scientific acumen to steer early companies in executing critical milestones in commercialization and regulatory approvals.
I’m also currently working with key stakeholders to build a first of its kind non-equity accelerator lab space at B+ Labs in Philadelphia. Our aim, to support potentially lifesaving treatments through risk mitigation, validation, Intellectual property strategy, and supporting finance needs. Critical early decisions made by biotech companies can be the difference between a therapy making it to the patient or not. I aim to do whatever is feasible to prevent the later.
How has your work in venture capital prepared you to execute your goals?
When I sit down with executives to hear their “pitch,” I do so through the lens of scrutiny. Analyzing decision making, use of funds, intellectual property and evaluating commercialization strategy. It is very difficult, especially in this market, to raise capital. Working at a life science focused firm, Nodes Advisors AG based in Switzerland, has provided fluency in rigorous methods in scientific, financial, and regulatory due diligence. I carry these skill sets with me in all of my consulting and company creation endeavors.
Did you always have a passion for medicine and biotech?
Well, I was 14 years old, and while at a leadership camp. The facilitator asked each of us, “What superpowers would you want to have?” People responded, “Breathe underwater,” or “fly,” etc. I said, “I want to heal.” I thought to heal meant being a clinician and treating patients. I declined my offer to medical school after realizing that clinicians are restrained in their ability to heal by virtue of the therapies they can offer.
This critical realization led me to pivot towards bringing together my ability to speak both languages - business and science.
The dream is becoming a reality. I am currently founding a company that will, in hope, bring a cure for a life ending diagnosis. To act as the scientist in the lab while also leading the business team is a dream come true.
Scientist and Entrepreneur in Residence