Yale School of Management

Catching Up with Alumni: The Founders of Granata Bio

A new series in which we reach out to alumni of the MBA for Executives program to learn more about their time at Yale SOM and how it’s impacted their lives since graduation. We checked in with three founders of Granata Bio, a fertility company that aims to bring new medications in the field to the United States.

March 21, 2019
Granata Bio founders
Granata Bio founders Marc Chung, Evan Sussman, and David Paller

Marc Chung ’14

MBA for Executives Focus Area: Healthcare

David Paller ’14

MBA for Executives Focus Area: Healthcare

Evan Sussman ’14

MBA for Executives Focus Area: Healthcare

What is Granata Bio, and what was the role of the EMBA program in the launch of the company?

Granata Bio is a fertility company aiming to bring new medications to North America. Despite some of the highest success rates in the world, utilization of infertility services in the United States is amongst the lowest in the developed world. The major barriers to treatment include cost (50% of U.S. patients pay out-of-pocket for their treatments) and the burden of treatment. Despite these barriers, more patients are seeking treatment every year.

Granata Bio was born out of a desire to increase competition in U.S. fertility drug markets. We have partnered with a privately-held, Swiss pharmaceutical company to develop and commercialize two of their European-approved fertility products. 

Granata Bio’s mission is to find and grow fertility solutions. By increasing competition, Granata Bio intends to reduce both patient cost and treatment burden. Unlike many startups that aim to completely disrupt an industry, Granata Bio’s strategy is a straightforward, de-risked approach that leverages our expertise and experience to bring proven options to patients safely and expeditiously.
—Evan Sussman

What motivated you to apply to and enroll in the Yale EMBA program?

Like many current students and past graduates of the Yale EMBA program, I enrolled in the program believing that the course offerings and the Yale MBA degree would provide a “boost” to my career path at that time, either in the form of internal promotions or external advancement. The materials I learned in class and the network I cultivated with classmates and professors opened my eyes to other professional and career possibilities. In our case, we found each other and our common desire to be entrepreneurs together.
—Marc Chung

“Marc and David are my friends and business partners. I’m entrusting my future livelihood to them. The broader SOM group also plays a large role.” Evan Sussman 

With a background in engineering and science, my formal business skills and training were limited. I was looking for a program that built on a foundation of business principles with healthcare-centric aspects. This focus integrated with a world-class university, novel curriculum, and prestigious teaching staff and network made SOM an easy choice. Interestingly, Evan and I attended the same information session in Boston. This opportunity to interact with administrators/alumni and learning about what it meant to be part of SOM resonated with me immediately.
—David Paller

 What are your strongest memories of your time at Yale SOM?

If you ask this question to all graduates, I bet a high percentage would say “boot camp,” which was an intensive way to start the two-year program and a strong way to develop lasting relationships with your cohort. A close second were the Friday nights during every school weekend. These were occasions where study teams came together face-to-face to finalize assignments and for all of us to socialize over cocktails and drinks.
—Marc Chung

How would you describe your classmates? What role do your classmates play in your life?

For me, they are constant reference points. In any role, in any company, it can be intimidating to ask an out-of-the box type question. Our Yale classmates offer us a sounding board of established professionals that has ongoing benefits. They were the first external group to whom we introduced the concept of Granata Bio.

While at SOM, our classmates became an extension of our family in many regards. While we prepared to tackle the next class sessions/projects, we often spoke daily as a mechanism of keeping on task. During class weekends, we spent all our waking hours together learning, studying, or networking. Obviously, Evan, Marc, and I remain close to this day and still communicate on nearly a daily basis.
—David Paller

Marc and David are my friends and business partners. I’m entrusting my future livelihood to them. The broader SOM group also plays a large role.
—Evan Sussman

What insights from the classroom had the biggest impact on your work?

It certainly has been amazing to be able to apply concepts and thinking we learned from SOM toward what we are doing. The structure of the EMBA program and the progression toward the “raw businesses cases” better prepared our team for the analysis and strategy needed as we ramp up this business venture. The network and the access to industry experts across all sectors while we matriculated through the program and continue to evolve as alumni remain a core asset of the program.
—David Paller

How did the MBA for Executives change the way you think?

First and foremost, the diverse course offerings within the EMBA program exposed us to different real-world business concepts while formalizing them in the appropriate vocabulary. In terms of approach to tackling business challenges, it has provided us with the confidence and credibility in our own business strategy and how we collaborate with our partners.
—Marc Chung

Changing the way you think became one of the buzz phrases early on. Personally, I was skeptical of the pitch until it dawned on me that I was converted about a year deep into the program. I traveled to Dublin for a weeklong program in digital marketing with business students from across the globe as part of Global Network Week. In those classrooms, working with other students and business executives, I realized that the skills and perspectives from SOM were now engrained and reflexive. It was truly both a powerful and rewarding moment in my development.
—David Paller