Sam English, PhD

Sam is an experienced biomedical and life science entrepreneur.  He founded the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE Partners) and works closely with clients to develop early-stage concepts into products and businesses.
Sam has co-founded and built multiple biomedical/life science companies ranging from diagnostic biochips to pharmaceuticals. He recently led a company he founded through to acquisition by a leading national ADHD non-profit organization. As a consultant, he has assisted numerous entrepreneurs to advance their inventions through product development and commercialization.  He’s helped start-ups secure approximately $9M of investment.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development

Founder/Co-Founder of four startup companies; Attention Point/ DefiniPoint, OcuCure Therapeutics, T2I2 Educational Software, and OptiMetric Technologies.
Advised more than 15 startups on funding, early-stage technologies, go-to-market planning, product development, and licensing strategies.
Secured more than $9M in financing for startup technology companies to accelerate product commercialization.
Guided initiative to develop the Roanoke Regional Entrepreneur Center, located within the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce. Secured financing from Roanoke City of Economic Development Authority.
He recently led a Capital Ecosystem Development project for the Valleys Innovation Council securing funding from GO Virginia to conduct a regional study of the capital landscape identifing gaps and informing plans. This led to the launch of a new regional angel investor group, Common Wealth Angels.  More details.

Economic & Community Development

Championed for and directly supported the development of Riverside Center, a 22-acre research business park in Roanoke that attracts entrepreneurs and businesses to the area with $247M capital investment to date.
Advocated for the Innovation Corridor to be designated as an Opportunity Zone in downtown Roanoke and collaborated with Roanoke Economic Department to achieve the designation.
Steered the concept, development, and implementation of RAMP, a business accelerator partnership between Virginia Western Community College, City of Roanoke, and Roanoke – Blacksburg Technology Council. Liaised and negotiated with investors and stakeholders to secure $1.5M in funding to support the RAMP launch.
Led a successful initiative to improve broadband infrastructure by forming a regional partnership of four local municipalities to develop the region’s first open-access fiber-optic network which created new access, improved connectivity, and increased competition/reduced costs for Roanoke Valley residents ($12M project).
Led a five-year strategic reinvention project for the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV), which included a successful $3.5M campaign and the establishment of a partnership between Virginia Tech and SMWV.

Research Commercialization & Collaboration

Managed partner programs for CBI and collaborated with University of VA, Virginia Tech, and Carilion Clinic to identity and support biomedical research and product development.
Devised, implemented, and managed $14M of research and development programs that promoted translational and collaborative research, resulting in more than 100 projects, 80 inventions, 23 patents, and seven startups.
Designed, developed, and launched the hybrid Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Development at Carilion Clinic. Directed the Offices’ daily operations with a focus on supporting physician research and providing mechanisms to acquire funding and grants for innovation ($1.3M budget).
Assisted in the formation of the Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) partnership to form the VTC School of Medicine and the VTC Research Institute.

Technology transfer & Licensing

Led the discovery and preclinical testing of university compounds to treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy. Commercialized ($6B market opportunity) through clinical trials and licensing to start OcuCure Therapeutics.

Developed and implemented polices and procedures for a university’s IP and Infrastructure platform inclusive of workflows for innovation, research commercialization, business engagement, and template documents.

Served as a licensing professional, working with universities and companies to protect IP and license technology (in/out).

Community Leadership

Sam is active in the community having served as Board Chair for the Science Museum of Western Virginia and the Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC).  He has also served on the Board of CMR Institute, and currently serves on the Boards of Virginia Western Community College, Virginia is for Entrepreneurs and the Valleys Innovation Council. He has helped lead a number of regional initiatives such as the Innovation Blueprint, the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, and the regional business accelerator, RAMP.  He has been recognized as Small Business Advocate of the Year by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, received the Regional Leadership Award and the Ruby Award from the RBTC, and was recognized as a leading entrepreneur in Virginia by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT).
Sam has a PhD in Biochemistry and a BS in Microbiology from Clemson University and completed a post-doc at the University of Missouri.  He is an author on more than 15 peer reviewed publications in the area of microbial biochemistry/genetics.  He has been a licensing professional in both the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executives Society.
LinkedIn Profile & Contact Information