While academic scientists have always brought to light new insights, these have traditionally been extracted from the labs in which they originated by established companies or by investment firms, which then hire others to build a company to advance the promising research. In contrast, founder-led biotechs are led by those who are most deeply immersed in the science underpinning the products or services they are creating. As such, these companies can be particularly well-poised to hasten the translation of academic science into tangible goods, such as drugs, diagnostics, and discovery platforms, with significant potential to improve patients’ lives. Academic science can be a solitary pursuit, and even a frustrating one if the research insights that surface aren’t advanced in a way that has real potential to improve society. Many in academic science who haven’t considered starting companies may find more direct participation in translational science intensely gratifying and motivating – were the path to do so more clearcut. Panelists will discuss the unique opportunities of founder-led biotechs and the different paths individuals and companies have taken to turn academic science into translational impact.