New entrepreneur in residence brings biotech expertise to the Dyer Center


Beyer is the senior vice president of Research and Development at Promentis, a biopharmaceuticals company. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette College)

By Xavier Walker, Contributing Writer

This semester, students have a distinct opportunity to learn more about biotechnology and entrepreneurship from the Dyer Center’s new Entrepreneur in Residence Dr. Chad Beyer. 

Beyer is a neuroscientist by trade and has spent the last 23 years in the pharmaceutical biotechnology business focused on finding and developing new medicines to treat neurological disorders. 

According to Lafayette Communications, Beyer has “led several early-stage drug discovery teams and managed a group responsible for contributing to the commercialization and life-cycle management of two blockbuster medications.”

When asked about his proudest professional accomplishment, Beyer remembered meeting patients who thanked him upon realizing his involvement in the creation of medicines that changed their lives.

“I get most proud about making the world a better, healthier place [and] helping people who can’t help themselves,” Beyer said.

His draw to Lafayette ultimately comes down to his belief that “anybody can be an entrepreneur.” 

Beyer noted that there are not many colleges and universities that are allowing students to develop what he calls the “entrepreneurial muscle.”

The idea that Lafayette is saying ‘hold on, this is an important domain that undergraduates should be taught…and understand’ is really exciting and important,” Beyer said.

Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Dyer Center Yusud Dahl, said “the Dyer Center is thrilled to welcome Dr. Chad Beyer as our new Entrepreneur in Residence. Chad brings a unique perspective on biotechnology having most recently worked in an early-stage company focused on product commercialization.”

Dahl noted that Beyer has a unique background that will allow him to best serve the Lafayette community.

“Chad’s experiences have given him a front-row perspective on the innovations and technology transforming healthcare and medicine,” Dahl said. “I hope everyone on campus interested in biotechnology reaches out and connects with him.”

As a part of the residency, Beyer will teach an interdisciplinary course this semester: Biotechnology and Innovation. Students will spend the semester working in small teams to develop a biotech company of their own creation, culminating in an end-of-the-semester pitch. The bulk of the grade in this class will come down to students’ ability to apply the information and defend how much capital the business will need in a concise presentation. 

In addition to this semester-long project, students will spend class time learning from real-world professionals such as venture capitalists and intellectual property attorneys. The idea is that by the conclusion of the semester students will walk away with new LinkedIn connections and a clearer understanding of their options within the biotech industry.  

Beyer stated that the idea behind this course is to arm students with the passion and perspective to see ideas through from start to finish.  

“There is no shortage of good ideas,” Beyer said. “There is only a shortage of teams who are smart, present, engaged and in the moment to make those ideas come into reality.”

Looking into the future, Beyer hopes to leave his residency having supported or created a sustainable way for students to become educated about the biotech business, whether through a student-run organization that brings in professionals for information sessions or the creation of an academic program that incorporates classes on communication, intellectual property, venture capitalism and the like.

Ultimately, the goal of his class is to give students the perspective of the importance of working well with others.  

“You don’t have to come to this class and be a chemistry major or a scientist. Everybody can think more entrepreneurial because ideas come from everywhere. Entrepreneurship is about grabbing onto your idea and nourishing it,” Beyer said.

Beyer encourages any student or faculty member to reach out to him directly at [email protected] to learn more about biotechnology, entrepreneurship and the intersections of the two.