Mike Pape is Professor of Practice in the Department of Management within the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida, where he teaches and mentors students in entrepreneurship. Mike serves as director of the UpStarts Student Venture Accelerator within the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, which guides the most ambitious entrepreneurial students at UCF through the startup process.

He is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded several life science companies, including Esperion Therapeutics, Orchard Venture Partners (a life science venture capital firm), Akebia Therapeutics and Nymirum. He is also a veteran of both large pharmaceutical and startup life science companies having entered the industry in 1989. At Upjohn and Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer), he was instrumental in the success of numerous cardiovascular drug discovery and development programs, including Lipitor. In 1998, he co-founded Esperion Therapeutics and held a variety of executive positions where he was involved in nearly all aspects of building Esperion from its startup to its acquisition by Pfizer for $1.3 billion in 2004. In 2007, he co-founded Akebia Therapeutics, which had a successful IPO in 2014. In 2009, Pape co-founded Nymirum serving as CEO until 2015 and currently as a member of the Board.

His entrepreneurial efforts have led to his inclusion in the book How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America and receiving Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. Pape received his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan; his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University and his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Teaching / Research Interest
Mike’s teaching and consulting efforts focus on educating students and executives in the entrepreneurial method. He has developed the Startup Staircase®, a framework of “common sense steps for starting new ventures and projects”. The Startup Staircase is used to educate, through competency-based learning aspiring entrepreneurs and startup teams. It has also been used by established companies seeking to implement an entrepreneurial and innovation-based approach to solve problems internal and external to their company.

Areas of Expertise
• Entrepreneurship
• Problem Solving
• Technology/Science and Business Interface

Research and Publications