SPARK Program in Translational Research

Our Mission: Advance Academic Discoveries from Laboratory to Patient Care

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SPARK Emphasizes New Ways To Bridge The Gap Between Academic Discoveries And Products That Benefit Patients.

SPARK’s mentorship and funding program provides hands-on advising and funding to Stanford affiliates whose product proposals have been accepted for development. Our "SPARKees" benefit from world-class counsel from industry advisors and academic experts who work closely with them to provide the industry knowledge necessary to move their projects from bench to bedside.


Light Your


Learn About Career Opportunities And Find Your New Passion

The primary purpose of SPARK is education of the greater Stanford community about drug development and advancing discoveries. Beyond attending weekly SPARK lectures, students can take CSB240: A Practical Approach to Drug Discovery and Development, the biannual SPARK Class where students may develop their own SPARK projects. Each year, the class focuses on unmet needs in a particular therapeutic area and interdisciplinary teams are charged with conceiving of and then serially de-risking a novel therapeutic approach for an unmet medical need. Approximately one third of the student projects are licensed or move into clinical study at Stanford. Learn more about our process below

SPARK Scholars

Ignite Your


We’re in the Business of Saving Lives

For many SPARK projects, the optimal path to the clinic is through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and the development of new startups. With showcases at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Investor Forum and connections with venture capitalists in the region, we do our part to bring SPARK projects forward. As of 2018, thirty-two projects have rolled out into startups and sixteen projects were licensed to existing companies. Some startups raised over $50 million in series A funding and others went public. Half of successful SPARK projects are in clinical studies. Read on to learn more about our successes and potential opportunities.

Commercializing SPARK

The SPARK Opportunities


SPARK Succeeds With Help From People Like You!

Since 2006, over 50% of SPARK projects have moved to the clinical and commercial sectors through the support of over 200 volunteer industry experts and a few, generous donors. Learn more about how you can support SPARK to advance biomedical research discoveries into new treatments for patients.

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into a Flame!

TEDMED: SPARKing a new generation in translational research

Founder and Director of Stanford University’s SPARK program Daria Mochly-Rosen shares how she has liberated potential drug discoveries from academic research to industry, and discusses the countless, surprising lessons she has learned along the way.

For manuscript submissions, use this sentence in the acknowledgement: “Mentored and financially supported by Stanford’s SPARK Translational Research Program”

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SPARK leadership calls for a national clinical trial network before the next pandemic

SPARK leadership calls for a national clinical trial network before the next pandemic

SPARK directors publish correspondence in Nature Medicine

Patient preferences and biomarkers in drug development

Patient preferences and biomarkers in drug development

SPARK research study looks at patient preferences in preventative drugs for Huntington's disease

More From SPARK

SPARK: A Practical Guide to Drug Development in Academia

The SPARK manual was published by co-founders Daria Mochly-Rosen and Kevin Grimes to help other academic institutions develop their own SPARK Programs.

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Supporting Child and Maternal Health

SPARK is thankful for the continued support of the Maternal and Child Health Research Institute at Stanford. Through their funding, SPARK has been able fund numerous projects in the field of Child and Maternal Health with 11 projects reaching clinic or commercial sectors.

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SPARK Global

A number of academic institutions have successfully developed their own SPARK programs resulting in a global community of translational scientists who accelerate academic discoveries to patients around the world. Learn more about the work of SPARK Global.

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