THE SAN DIEGO STARTUP TIMES BY SDEE
Message From the President
Community Resources for Entrepreneurs
The ABCs of IP: Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs
2017 SDEE Executive Committee Members
Member News - The Latest from our SDEE Business Members
The San Diego Startup Times by SDEE
SDEE 2016 - Year in Review
Featured Interview - Scott Thatcher Things to Watch Post-Election
Entrepreneur Resources - SDEE Resources Guide
Member News - The Latest from our SDEE Business Members
SDEE 2016 - Year in Review
For our December 2016 Newsletter, we thought you might like to see a roundup of this year's SDEE events. A big thank you to sponsors, members and volunteers for helping us offer 4 educational events, 4 workshops and 11 SDEE Happy Hours. We love the opportunity to share events and networking that help local entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. A special thank you to our partners Hera Hub and New English Brewing who provide the venues for our workshops and Happy Hours.
Do you have an idea for an event or workshop you would like next year? We'd love to hear about it. Just contact Danielle Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season and a joyful, prosperous 2017!
2016 SDEE Events
March 23 - Get to Know Your Neighbors. This event was a highlight of our year, featuring J. Craig Venter, PhD as Keynote Speaker. Our company member exhibitors and sponsors Barney & Barney and SGI-DNA helped make it a success.
July 12 - Founder's Tales. This event featured local San Diego Biotech founders who shared intriguing stories of starting and growing their companies. Thank you to our sponsors MaxCyte and Barney & Barney.
Mauro Mileni, PhD, President, CEO and Founder of Abilita Bio, Inc.
R. Scott Struthers, PhD, CEO and Co-founder of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals
Joseph E. Payne, President, CEO, Chairman and Founder of Arcturus Therapeutics
Padmanabh Chivukula, PhD, CSO, COO, Director and Founder of Arcturus Therapeutics
October 13 - Beer: The Original Biotech. A truly unique event for SDEE, featuring founders of local craft beer companies. The brewers stories of starting their companies, craft brew samples and exhibits by our company members made it a memorable event. Thank you MaxCyte for sponsoring.
Simon Lacey, Founder: New English Brewing Company
Eric O'Connor, Master Brewer/Owner: Thorn Street Brewery, San Diego
Matt Del Vecchio, Head Quack/Founder: Duck Foot Brewing Company
December 6 - 2016 SDEE Year End Social. Always fun to celebrate the end of the year with our fellow entrepreneurs. Great food, networking and prizes thanks to our generous members and sponsors. A special thanks to our venue host Cushman & Wakefield.
2016 SDEE Workshops
February 11 - Business Operations, Intensive Workshop for Entrepreneurs
This workshop focused on key aspects of operating startups and small companies, including Accounting, Information Technology, Laboratory Operations, and Legal.
Susan Snow, Seasoned Financial Executive and Independent Director
Brian Sterck, Sr. Systems Engineer, Southland Technology, Inc.
Taylor Moyer, CEO, Managed Laboratory Services, Inc.
Arshan Amiri, Amiri Law Firm, PC
June 23 - Perfect Pitch. Great tips for entrepreneurs planning to pitch investors or partners. Topics covered how to best prepare for and deliver a compelling presentation, handle Q&A, and will address frequently asked questions.
Jeff Friedman, MD, PhD, Life Science Chair, Tech Coast Angels; Managing Partner, Friedman Bioventure Fund
Larry Fromm, VP, Business & Strategy Development, Achates Power
Diane West, President, 2Connect Presentation Training
Grace Chui-Miller, Chief Financial Officer, Correlation Ventures
September 22 - Welcome to Consulting: How to be the best and hire the best consultants. This workshop was designed for those starting a consulting business, growing an existing business or looking for tips on hiring consultants.
Sylvia Norman, PhD, PMP, Founder & CEO, Molecular Diagnostics Consulting, Inc.
Amy Rasdal, Founder, Billable at the Beach®
John Wallen III, Ph.D., J.D., Colt Advisors, LLC
November 15 - Grants & Contracts: How to leverage non-dilutive funding sources to establish and grow your business. We were fortunate to have access to many experts from our own membership who shared their experiences in building successful biotech/pharma companies through grants and contracts.
Mark Dilorio, CEO Magnesensors, Inc.
Debbie Slee, SVP Kalyra Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Slee Consulting
Mark Stidham, Director, Resolute Therapeutics
Bio 2016 Participants
We were pleased to see so many SDEE members exhibiting at this year's Bio International Convention. Thanks to Scott Struthers for these photos.
Things to Watch Post-Election
by Scott Thatcher, CEO at Orphagen Pharmaceuticals
SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program
The SBIR program is popular among SDEE members. Many of us have been able to start our businesses with SBIR grants. It’s well-liked in Congress, too, and it is up for reauthorization for 2017 and beyond. During the last cycle in 2012, the SBIR program was attached to a defense authorization bill and became law on the coattails of this larger program. There’s a move to do the same during the lame duck session of Congress this month. It won’t hurt to follow up with your member of Congress about this program soon.
The Pharmaceutical Industry
Elsewhere, uncertainty reigns! A non-physician with little knowledge of drug development, Jim O’Neill, has been suggested as a possible new head of FDA. Past statements by O’Neill, a Silicon Valley investor, suggest an interest in radical changes to the drug approval process. At issue is whether the FDA is doing a good job of addressing innovation. Watch to see if the the industry will defend the FDA and seek to ensure that it is adequately funded.
Energy and Environmental Protection
The incoming Administration’s nominees for Energy Secretary, EPA, and perhaps the State Department are strong advocates for expanding fossil fuel production. This is in the face of a global consensus (from the Pentagon to the U.N.) that the production of greenhouse gases needs to be curtailed aggressively in order to avoid serious and even catastrophic climate change.
There are economic issues here—incentives for fossil fuel production could increase while support for wind and solar are curtailed. Infrastructure spending could favor pipelines rather than green energy and improved transmission lines. But there could be a bi-partisan push-back in support of a green technology industry that has started to take root all over the country and can drive timely (and very valuable) economic growth.
Another issue should concern everyone in science-based and technology industries. This is the intimidation of scientists and policy makers who disagree with the new Trump administration consensus. When science is blatantly twisted to fit an agenda with such profound implications, it’s unwise for SDEE members to just look the other way.
Entrepreneur Resources - SDEE Guide
Are you starting a life science business with limited funding and looking for ways to stretch your budget? We're here to help. Check out our guide to local resources including Incubators & Accelerators, Life Science Core Facilities, Secondary Equipment Vendors and Grants Information. We're just getting started compiling these lists, so if you know of additional resources, we'd love to hear about them. Contact email@example.com.
Montana Molecular collaborated with researchers at the Geisinger Medical Center to study cAMP signaling in the primary cilia using cADDis, our genetically-encoded biosensor for cAMP. Understanding how levels of cAMP are balanced within the cell is critical to understanding disease as well as normal cell function. Primary cilia is a specialized subcellular structure involved in cell sensory processes and implicated in human diseases such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Kartagener syndrome, and many others. This study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is currently available on the journal’s website: Cilia have high cAMP levels that are inhibited by Sonic Hedgehog-regulated calcium dynamics. PNAS 2016
Explora BioLabs expands yet again! Explora has opened its fifth San Diego preclinical vivarium location, in Genesis Campus Point, near the UTC, Torrey Pines and Sorrento Valley biotech communities. This newly-built vivarium offers full-service, on demand rodent housing rooms of various sizes, which will provide flexibility and cost-savings to small companies as they expand their pharmacology programs. Additionally, Explora’s skilled technical staff will be available to assist with in vivo procedures. For more information or to schedule a facility tour, contact Explora at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-768-2100.
Nov 25, 2016 Nucleus Biologics announced that they have shipped initial orders for their first product. Nucleus manufactures and distributes a premium line of cell culture media products.Nucleus’ first product is a Single Origin, Single Source, Fetal Bovine serum that has Farm-to-Flask TM Traceability, Stable and Competitive pricing, Full Characterization and Lot to Lot consistency. The product is ideally suited for researchers who demand the best for their cells and bioprocessors who need to insure that the quality and purity of their source material. “As a San Diego company we are excited by the positive response to our Australia FBS and our message of a premium brand providing the highest quality cell culture solutions to enable better life saving science” said David Sheehan, President and CEO of Nucleus Biologics.
In addition to best in class FBS, Nucleus will be expanding their product line to include a premium line of xeno free media products.
Charles River Laboratories
Charles River Laboratories Acquires Agilux Laboratories, Inc. Agilux’s unique combination of early-stage services, coupled with our existing discovery and safety assessment capabilities, will greatly enhance the speed and efficiency of your lead identification, optimization and candidate selection. Please see the press release here: http://www.criver.com/about-us/news-events/featured-stories/2016/charles-river-laboratories-acquires-agilux-laborat
Nov 10, 2016: A new protocol published by scientists at Allele and detailed in this quarter’s issue of Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology, reveals key conditions required for converting adult fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) under cGMP regulations (Ni Y, Zhao Y, Warren L, Higginbotham J, Wang J. cGMP Generation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells with Messenger RNA. Current Protocols in Stem Cell Biology,2016; 39:4A.6.1-4A.6.25.)
Sep 26, 2016: The National Institute on Aging of the NIH has awarded a grant to Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals to develop a nano antibody therapy for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside academic collaborators, scientists at Allele have revealed a strong correlation between a previously uncharacterized target gene and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Allele hope that an antibody treatment will improve the function of its target protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and ultimately reduce pathogenesis of the disease.
Sep 14th, 2016: The NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has awarded Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals a Phase 1 SBIR grant to develop a novel manufacturing system to produce stem cell-derived human tissue and cells for clinical therapy. By increasing the scale of production and reducing the cost of manufacturing, the iPSC-derived blood cell manufacturing process will mature and the costs will come down to eventually benefit everybody.
Sustainable Surplus Exchange
Rear Admiral Len Hering (retired), Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, has joined the board of directors of Sustainable Surplus. A leader of creating sustainable solutions for the US Navy, and now for the private sector, Admiral Hering brings decades of experience and knowledge to help lead SSE's efforts to the next level.
Through the subsidiary that we created in London last year, Aequor won a Phase I EU Horizon 2020 grant in the BioMed category. Tons of paperwork to get that going is now complete and we are positioning to apply for Phase II in collaboration with EU companies to scale-up production and do pre-clinical tox and other testing.
--Aequor is a finalist in the NASA iTech competition. The finals are all next week at NASA HQ in D.C. -- which is why we can't attend your holiday party after all.
--Aequor was invited to join the Green Chemistry in Commerce Council (GC3) and Next Generation Network for Global Health Security Agenda, in addition to 2 DOD Consortia, BIO, and other organizations. I spoke on Aequor's antibiofilm chemicals at United National General Assembly High Level Meetings on Antimicrobial Resistance.
--On the science side, USDA sponsored testing of 2 of our molecules against pathogens in consumer products, Cynthia started “pilot testing” our molecules in third party’s formulations and now can show significantly improved performance.
--Our next step is to send samples for third parties to test under programs Aequor has been selected for-- including the NIH and DOD/AMRIID.
LATITUDE Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has received a notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a U.S. patent application covering LATITUDE’s PG Depot™, a phospholipid gel composition that enables sustained localized or systemic drug delivery for small molecules, peptides or proteins with up to one-week release from a single intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Individual PG Depot™ formulations can be custom-tailored to create optimized drug-release kinetics, including peak-less profiles. The PG Depot™ is composed entirely of FDA-approved injectable ingredients, and its simple production process is significantly less expensive than other injectable depot technologies such as PLGA microspheres and liposomes. LATITUDE’s PG Depot™ has proven to be safe for both human as well as veterinary applications, with human product candidates already in Phase II clinical studies.
THE SAN DIEGO STARTUP TIMES BY SDEE
- Featured Interview - with CONNECT Springboard program
- Tips From the Pros - highlights from our consulting workshop
- New Entrepreneur Resources - featuring BioLabs San Diego
- SDEE Events
- Member News
Springboard Your Way to Success – How CONNECT’S Mentoring Program Prepares Entrepreneurs
By Amy Duncan, Goldfish Consulting, Inc.
It’s not about introducing entrepreneurs to investors, but preparing for the pitch. That’s what Steve Hoey said when I asked him about the Springboard program at CONNECT. Mr. Hoey is Senior Director of Springboard and Innovation Research with CONNECT. CONNECT has been involved with the San Diego technology and life sciences communities for over 30 years connecting entrepreneurs and C-suite executives to people, capital, and resources they need for success.
Their flagship program, Springboard, is CONNECT’s startup acceleration program designed to assist entrepreneurs with strategic guidance from experienced mentors. It is a mentoring program that pairs early-stage life science and tech companies with mentors to help them crystalize their business model and the commercialization strategy to prepare for investment.
“Our sweet spot is companies who have moved beyond the ‘ideation’ stage,” said Mr. Hoey. “It’s not a program for individuals who have a business idea, but don’t yet have the plan, technology, or prototype in place.” Those are too early for Springboard. Most companies in Springboard have a prototype, are moving toward commercialization, and are looking to define the commercialization strategy in order to seek funding to support scaling their business.
Mr. Hoey addressed where the funding comes in. “Springboard is not an access to capital program,” said Mr. Hoey. “There’s no funding. It’s not an introduction to investors program.” Instead Springboard helps the entrepreneur develop their business model and determine their value proposition for potential customers, licensees, investors, or acquirers. “We help them think that through,” he added.
In contrast to what Springboard is not, applying companies should be at the prototype stage or moving toward minimal viable product. If it’s a therapeutics company, it should have its core scientific team in place. “One of the challenges life science companies face, particularly when the founders are scientists, is bringing someone on the team with commercial experience to effectively think about commercialization,” said Mr. Hoey. “Companies applying to Springboard should have given some thought to expanding their team beyond the scientific founders, to include commercialization experience.” They should understand their target market and ideal customer. “They should have a grasp on the pain they are solving with their solution, how it’s differentiated, and a preliminary look at the competitive landscape,” said Mr. Hoey. These areas are all refined in the Springboard program, but if entrepreneurs haven’t given them any preliminary thought before they come to the intake meeting, they won’t clear that hurdle. Companies need to be far enough along to benefit from the mentoring the program provides.
Tips From the Pros
By Neil Thompson, Patent Agent and Writer
Being an employee isn’t for everybody. There are some people who are destined for the consultant life. Consultants like that their projects change, they like working for different employers, and they really enjoy being their own boss. Does this sound like you? If so, you missed out by not attending SDEE’s workshop, “Welcome to Consulting: How to be the best and hire the best consultants.” Held on September 22, 2016 at Hera Hub Sorrento Valley, the workshop’s panelists were consultants Sylvia Norman (Molecular Diagnostics Consulting, Inc.), Amy Rasdal (Billable at the Beach®), and John W. Wallen III (Colt Advisors LLC). Here are some tips from the experts.
- Why do you want to be a consultant? That’s the first question you should ask yourself according to Sylvia Norman. Is being your own boss appealing? What about having a flexible schedule? The answer to this question will guide your next steps.
- Structure your business based on your goals. According to Sylvia, if you want to consult long term, there may be tax advantages in forming an LLC or S Corp. If you’re only consulting temporarily, a sole proprietorship will suffice.
- Being a consultant isn’t for the meek. Amy Rasdal warns that you must be willing to work hard and take risks to survive the consultant game. Because work isn’t given to you as it is for employees, you have to hunt for opportunities. You eat what you kill, so to speak.
- Piggybacking on the last point, you must be able to quell the fear of being a consultant. Taking risks can be scary. John Wallen says that you’ll have a bunch of reasons as to why you can’t be a consultant. Work through each reason and you will arrive at solutions.
- Companies are looking for consultants who can solve their problems. Now is not the time to work in a completely different field, Amy insists. Consult in a field in which you have a lot of experience. Companies are paying you for your expertise.
- Consultants, especially those starting out, tend to give away a lot of free information. Know your worth. Value your time. Sylvia suggests limiting the amount of free consulting you provide potential clients. She also advises charging clients for time spent on emails, quick calls, and texts.
- Develop a marketing plan. Your initial referrals will only take you so far. Amy experienced growth through the first few years of consulting, followed by a drastic drop. She counsels consultants to market themselves from the outset and never stop.
- Don’t just take on any client. There must be a fit. Be selective. John says to target qualified buyers: people who are likely to engage you. He doesn’t believe in one-off business. Build a relationship with clients so that you get repeat business.
New Entrepreneur Resources
By Sylvia Norman, Molecular Diagnostics Consulting, Inc.
BioLabs Opens Innovative Coworking Lab Facility in San Diego
SDEE was recently treated to a tour of the new BioLabs San Diego coworking and wet lab facility for life science startups. San Diego is the newest location for BioLabs which also has facilities in Cambridge, San Francisco and North Carolina. As we toured, Susie Harborth, co-Founder and Managing Director, explained this is a 3 building complex (called GENESIS at Campus Point) featuring coworking space, a 16,000 sq ft wet lab stocked with shared equipment, conference rooms, offices and event spaces. She told us the San Diego site has a capacity to house 15-20 companies. We started in the main building which has a spacious open seating coworking area surrounded by conference rooms, private offices and the wet lab. The area is interspersed with informal spaces where co-workers can network. The star attraction is the wet lab with plenty of bench space, new equipment and an adjoining tissue culture room to be shared by BioLabs’ members. Susie mentioned that for those members needing vivarium services, Explora BioLabs is located right next door.
Susie explained that BioLabs is a membership-based, ready-to-move-in facility where startup life science companies can develop and grow. So how does the BioLabs membership work? Life Science companies can apply for a 2-year agreement with an “a la carte” use plan that includes an array of options to fit specific needs. Members can reapply after 2 years or opt out when ready to grow. Memberships start at $2000/month per bench plus a $400 per-person membership fee. As an added perk, BioCom offers a complementary membership to all BioLabs companies. BioCom is a founding partner of San Diego BioLabs. Additional amenities include an on-site lab manager, administrative assistance, Environmental Health & Safety support, centralized purchasing, shipping and more. There is even an on-site gym and swimming pool for when members need a break from their work.
BioLabs is a welcome addition to San Diego life science startup resources, helping local entrepreneurs launch, develop and grow their companies. Want to check out BioLabs for yourself? Contact Abegale Colmenar (Director of Operations) at email@example.com to schedule a tour.
Upcoming SDEE Events
Are you a startup life science company looking for funding? Don't miss our November 15, 2016 workshop "Grants & Contracts: How to leverage non-dilutive funding sources to establish and grow your business".
Our annual 'Year End Social" for SDEE members will be held on December 6, 2016. This year's event features fantastic Opportunity Drawing prizes, great food, craft beers & wine, and networking with San Diego entrepreneurs.
Recent SDEE Events
At our September 22, 2016 workshop "Welcome to Consulting", local consultants shared their expertise in successfully establishing and growing their consulting businesses. See Neil Thompson's Tips From the Pros for a great summary.
Our October 13, 2016 Founders event "Beer: The Original Biotech" featured founders from New English Brewing Co., Thorn Street Brewery, and Duck Foot Brewing Co. What a great panel discussion showing us that founders have similar successes and challenges no matter what their industry. Thanks for the panel companies for sharing their tasty brews. Our event also featured SDEE company and consultant member exhibits, great food and networking. Check out Roberta Alexander's blog article with highlights from the event.
- Aequor won a grant from the DOE for testing to be conducted in November at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in water systems.
- On September 21, Aequor was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly High Level Meetings on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and had the opportunity to describe the critical importance of biofilm in AMR.
- In early October, Aequor won an EU Phase I Horizon 2020 grant in the BioMed category to develop a go-to-market plan with an EU partner for new therapeutics.
- On October 18th, Aequor was a panelist on marine antifouling at the InterFerry Conference in Manila, an international conference of shipbuilders and passenger and cargo transport engineers.
Sustainable Surplus – Sue Prelozni
In a key strategic move for both Sustainable Surplus Exchange (SSE) and the US Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), the organizations have signed a partnership agreement to create a Materials Marketplace in San Diego. The Marketplace aims to create a closed-loop, collaborative network of businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs in SD County where one organization’s waste becomes another organization’s raw material. In addition to diverting waste from landfills, the recovery activities will generate significant cost savings, energy savings, and create new jobs and business opportunities.
Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Inc. - Allele Biotechnology was awarded 2 NIH grants to develop antibody therapies for Alzheimer's Disease and to develop a novel manufacturing system producing stem cells for clinical therapy.
Claude Koehl - Recently published MANAGING DIVERSITY: 10 STEPS TO MULTICULTURAL TEAM SUCCESS. Team diversity leads to a wider range of perspectives and solutions, creativity and innovation spirit, flexibility and ease of adaptation. Nevertheless, without the necessary organizational framework and intercultural training diverse teams will have difficulties actually becoming cohesive, innovative, and productive units.
THE SAN DIEGO STARTUP TIMES BY SDEE
This 2016 summer edition of the SDEE newsletter contains a special feature on recent scientific conferences attended by our communications committee volunteers. Conference topics included medical imaging, digital health and biotechnology entrepreneurship. Check out our Featured 2016 Conferences section to see what we learned. We also share investor presentation pitch tips from our speakers at the June 23, 2016 “Perfect Pitch” workshop and photo highlights from our July 12, 2016 Founder's Tales and Vendor Show. Don’t miss the Member News section where you can catch-up on the latest updates from SDEE vendor members. For more events and entrepreneur community information, please visit our SDEE website and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Enjoy!
- Recent SDEE Events
- Tips from the Pros
- Featured 2016 Biotechnology and Medical Conferences
- Upcoming Events
- Member News
Recent SDEE Events
June 23, 2016 Workshop: Perfect Pitch – For Creating and Delivering Winning Presentations
Tips From the Pros
by Neil Thompson, Patent Agent & Writer
Does the idea of pitching an investor make you want to…abandon that idea? If so, you’re not alone. The pitch workshop, hosted by SDEE on June 23 at Hera Hub, was packed with people wanting to know how to perfect their pitch. Here are 10 tips from the experts. Specials thanks to our panelists Jeff Friedman (Tech Coast Angels), Larry Fromm (Achates Power), Diane West (2Connect), and Grace Chui-Miller (Correlation Ventures) for their nuggets of wisdom.
- Get the audience’s attention within the first minute (Larry says you have one minute to grab investors’ attention before they tune out. Facebook photos won’t scroll through themselves after all. Larry also says that if you have an hour for the pitch, do it in 20 minutes, leaving the rest of the time for Q&A.)
- Tell the audience a story (Diane understands that investors need data to make an informed decision about your company, but she implores people who are pitching to couch that data in stories. Kids like stories. Adults do, too.)
- Know your audience (According to Diane, the story that the pitch audience wants to hear will vary. The technology-minded will want to hear a technology story. The business-minded? A business story. Find out beforehand who will be in the audience to tailor the story to the audience.)
July 12, 2016 Event: Founder’s Tales, SDEE Vendor Show & 30 Second Pitches
by Sylvia Norman, Founder & CEO at Molecular Diagnostics Consulting and Sandhill Crane Diagnostics, Inc.
Our Founder’s Tales event featured San Diego Biotech founders Mauro Mileni, PhD, President, CEO & Founder of Abilita Bio, Inc.; R. Scott Struthers, PhD, CEO & co-founder of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals; Joseph E. Payne, President, CEO, Chairman & Founder of Arcturus Therapeutics; and Padmanabh Chivukula, PhD, CSO, COO, Director & Founder of Arcturus Therapeutics. They gave a “no holds barred” approach to telling us what it’s really like to start a company and make it successful. Scott got his company started using creative ways to find lab resources. Mauro had the added pressure of making sure the “Friends & Family” investment he received to start Abilita, was wisely spent. Joseph and Padmanabh overcame initial mistakes and went on to build a profitable company. The event also included a vendor show by 43 SDEE members and 30 second company pitches by BioPioneer, Legal Greenhouse, Certara, and DeeAnn Visk Consulting. Check out our San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange Facebook page and Twitter @sdeeorg for more photos of this fun event.
Featured 2016 Biotechnology and Medical Conferences
Going Nuclear: a look at the SNMMI annual meeting
by Neil Thompson, Patent Agent & Writer
Physicians, pharmacists, technologists, and industry personnel all descended upon San Diego June 11 – 15, 2016 for this year’s annual meeting of the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging (SNMMI). SNMMI’s influence spans many areas, including education, best practices development, and advocacy. In existence for over 60 years and 17,000 members strong, SNMMI and its members are heavily involved with developing imaging techniques for noninvasive diagnoses of diseases. Going into the meeting, I knew nothing about nuclear medicine or medical imaging. Over the next few days, I received quite the education.
Nuclear medicine involves introducing small amounts of radiotracer to the body to diagnose diseases. The radiotracer consists of carrier molecules bonded to a radioactive atom. The carrier molecules typically have an affinity for a specific sugar or protein in the body. When the carrier molecules come in contact with that sugar or protein, the radioactive atom emits radiation. External cameras capture the radiation and provide molecular images of the radiating area.
There’s a lot of interesting research going on in the nuclear medicine field. For instance, Belgian researchers are looking into new therapies to treat alcoholism. They imaged the brains of recently sober individuals and those with no alcoholic history. They found that the recently sober test subjects had lower metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) availability. mGluR5, found in certain areas of the brain, has been implicated in causing cravings and addictive dependency. The brains of the recently sober were essentially shutting down mGluR5 receptors, hindering the recovering alcoholics’ desire to relapse. Based on their findings, the researchers believe that mGluR5-targeted therapies to treat alcoholism are on the horizon.
A highlight of the meeting was the talk given by Robert Dannals, PhD, recipient of the Michael J. Welch Award. Dannals, professor of radiology and Director of the PET Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, spent an hour regaling the audience about his exploits from the time he finished his studies to present day.
Igniting Innovation, Market Opportunities and Partnerships
by Sylvia Norman, Founder & CEO at Molecular Diagnostics Consulting, Inc. and Sandhill Crane Diagnostics, Inc.
The focus at the Digital Health Summer Summit at BIO 2016 (DHSS 2016) and BIO Digital Health track was all about igniting innovative changes in healthcare through digital health. The conference started off at warp speed as Dr. Shafi Ahmed treated us to a demo of his surgical virtual reality (VR) platform, providing each attendee with VR headsets for a truly immersive experience. In April, Dr. Ahmed performed the first ever live-streamed VR surgery using this platform. His vision is for the platform to become a VR surgical teaching tool. This presentation was followed by demos of digital health innovations, including a virtual rehab gamification for stroke patients (Virtualware), a non-invasive cognitive health tool to identify risk of cognitive decline e.g. Alzheimer's (Neurotrack), an injectable biosensor that monitors oxigenation index and glucose in real time (Profusa) and a connected SmartinhalerTM to monitor usage by COPD patients (Adherium). Elli Kaplan, co-founder & CEO at Neurotrack emphasized the need for early cognitive risk assessment tools, since studies have shown 20+ years of irreversible brain loss occurs prior to an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Neurotrack's ImprintTM Cognitive Assessment Test tracks eye movement while the subject views identical and non-identical images. Unimpaired subjects spend more time viewing non-identical images, impaired subjects do not.
Panel discussions over the next few days focused on market opportunities, investment outlook, and challenges facing digital health companies developing products for use in healthcare settings.
Market Opportunities - The primary market opportunities are in mental health technology, products for caregivers of our aging population, medical-grade wearables, big data analytics, and telemedicine. The mental health technology panel proposed that digital health's greatest impact will be on behavioral and mental health, by providing tools for digital therapy and analysis of complex data to identify treatment targets. To give an idea of the challenge in identifying mental health biomarkers and treatments, there are 126 symptoms included in the diagnosis for depression. Jeff Beeler (VP of Product Innovation at Merge eClinical) gave us an informative peek into how cognitive technologies work and reminded us that even Watson can't provide actionable data without additional tools - "You can't just give Watson the data, you have to teach him how to use it". For the aging population market, products to assist with mobility, independent living, in-home care, cognitive health, and remote healthcare are needed.
SDEE Members at BIO 2016
BIO 2016 had a variety of industry track sessions, including pharma, biotech, digital health, global health, and clean tech. It was a pleasure to see so many SDEE members participating as BIO2016 exhibitors, speakers, and taking part in the BIO One-On-One Partnering program. RetroVirox, Epigen Biosciences, Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, Managed Lab, Abilita Bio, and Visionary Pharmaceuticals were a some of the SDEE members attending BIO 2016. Thanks to Scott Struthers (Founder & CEO at Crinetics Pharmaceuticals and President of SDEE) for the photos.
Advice for Entrepreneurs from San Diego Startup Week
by Amy Duncan, Goldfish Consulting, Inc.
San Diego Startup week is an innovative weeklong conference that seeks to build an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in San Diego, provide resources for entrepreneurs, and amass a network of like-minded individuals to discuss common issues and share experiences. This year’s conference included a Bio/MedTech track with 15 events. I attended five of the Bio/MedTech sessions, held at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla. Three of the sessions reverberated themes that included teams, partnerships, and licensing that I’ll cover in this blog.
Speakers and Panelists
Participants in “Starting a Biotech Company - JUST DO IT!!” included founders/CEOs Julio de Unamuno from LabFellows, Thomas Hitchcock from Xycrobe Therapeutics, Inc., Paul Laikind from ViaCyte, Zachary Zimmerman from Forge Therapeutics, Inc., Curt Becker from Molecular Assemblies, and Tim Mullen from Qusp Labs. Participants in “Licensing IP from UCSD and other Research Institutions” included Scott Forrest from BlackThorn Therapeutics, Paul Roben from UCSD, and Zachary Zimmerman. Participants in “Biotech Partnerships and Joint Ventures” included Greg Mckee from CONNECT, Jay Lichter from Avalon Ventures, Damien McDevitt from GSK, and Elizabeth Schwarzbach from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Participants in “What Biotech Investors Look For When Funding Startups” included Julio de Unamuno, Kara Bartone from JLABS, Stephen Connelly from BioMed Ventures, and Ron Shigeta from Indie.bio.
Building your Team
When de Unamuno asked whether the panelists preferred having loyal or independent team members, the founders unanimously agreed that loyalty and trust are fundamental. The panelists advised working your network to get recommendations for first hires, and that while having a rock star team member was clearly beneficial, they are difficult to lure. Founding team members are either senior level and in a financially secure position to take a pay cut and try something new, or desperately in need of a job. Once you build the lab and foundational data, you can leverage these assets to attract higher quality employees and prune those that don’t fit. The panelists underscored the value of people first, referencing the adage, “It’s about the jockey, not the horse.”
Bartone said one reason startups fail is when founders try to start a company part time, in off hours, or with no full-time employees. She said it’s hard to move a company forward this way.
Upcoming SDEE Events
Looking for the best place to meet and network with San Diego entrepreneurs? Join us for our SDEE Happy Hours (3rd Thursday of every month) at New English Brewing Co., 5-7 pm.
MaxCyte, Inc. (Jessica McClure Kuhar) MaxCyte® Inc., the developer and supplier of a best-in-class cell modification technology to biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms engaged in cell therapy, drug discovery and development, biomanufacturing, gene editing and immuno-oncology, is expanding their technical support team having recently brought on board Joseph Abad formerly of Agensys Inc/Astellas Pharma where he worked for the past 8 years. As a MaxCyte technology user for over 6 of those years, his background is in cell line development including generation of transient and stable CHO, HEK and other cell lines for antibody and antigen production (soluble and cell surface expression). He has spent years optimizing his mammalian culture process development working with everything from 40ml to 2L shake flasks to 50L wave bags and 50L bioreactors. We are happy to have Joseph on the team to serve as an added resource for any transfection and PD related questions. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driven Staffing (Meredith Dow) celebrated its 3 year anniversary on June 13th
Sustainable Surplus has been chosen to partner with the US Business Council for Sustainable Development in the launch of the San Diego Materials Marketplace . The Marketplace will create a channel for manufacturers to redistribute their raw materials and by-products of production back into the market, supporting a closed-looped economy. Four such hubs exist in the US and as a result have created new industry, jobs and revenue.
Crinetics Pharmaceuticals (President – Scott Struthers) announced the addition of Ajay Madan, PhD, DABT, as VP, Development. Dr. Madan was most recently VP of Preclinical Development at Neurocrine Biosciences Dr. Madan is an author of more than 50 scientific publications, and has been a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology since 2005. He holds a B. Pharm. degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Kansas.
Big Frog (Todd Bell) recently partnered with the CW6 Morning News Team to design and print their custom printed athletic apparel for them to wear as participants in the EPIC Obstacle Course Event.
Aequor (Marilyn Bruno) is presenting at the International Space Station R&D Conference in San Diegp. NASA gave us the topic: "Biofilm --The #1 Impediment to Long Duration Manned Space Travel." We will be talking abour our novel antibiofilm molecules and the experiment we will be conducting on the ISS to show their efficacy in microgravity against the pathogens contaminating water systems, etc.
Charles River Laboratories (Christi Norton) Charles River has acquired WIL Research, a premier provider of safety assessment and contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) services to biopharmaceutical, agricultural, and industrial chemical companies worldwide. Acquiring WIL Research will enhance CRs position as a leading global early-stage contract research organization (CRO) by strengthening our ability to partner with global clients across the drug discovery and development continuum. This exciting expansion provides its clients with greater capacity, a deeper pool of knowledge, global facilities and more options for the conduct of studies, delivered with the same personal attention and superior service they are accustomed to.
LabFellows (Julio de Unamuno) continues helping more Biotech startups launch and grow with no strings attached in their new Sorrento Valley based ‘Home Lab’ —shared lab space outfitted with flexible equipment access open 24/7. UCSD recently featured LabFellows, giving us a good glimpse of what they’ve been up to: Rady School Alum Changes the Face of Biotech Research
Molecular Diagnostics Consulting Founder & CEO (Sylvia Norman) had the pleasure of participating as a judge at the Women in Bio pitch challenge and CSU I-Corps entrepreneurship cohort #4 events. Our sister company (Sandhill Crane Diagnostics, Inc.) was a proud sponsor of the San Diego Startup Week bio/med sessions.
Paramit (Jorg Lorscheder) June 21, 2016 – Paramit, the “zero-defect” medical device and life science contract manufacturer, today announced its acquisition of Lathrop Engineering, an instrumentation product development company specializing in medical devices and diagnostics. The move will enable Paramit to deliver unrivaled excellence in the design and manufacturing of complex medical and life sciences instruments. “Our customers tell us that we provide a better than best-in-class experience across quality, service, delivery and cost, the four most important aspects of contract manufacturing,” said Paramit Chief Executive Officer Billoo Rataul.
Etaluma (Lisa Marsh) has increased its distribution channels to have an even broader global distribution presence as well as increasing our internal staffing in San Diego. This has been in tandem with the release of their new product, the Lumascope 720, their automated imaging microscope that has the added capability of live cell imaging by time lapse in your incubator. The June issue of Laboratory Equipment published an article entitled “Automated Microscopy in Hypoxic Environments: Does This Change Everything?” which highlighted an interview with Etaluma’s co-founder Brian Rasnow.
The San Diego Startup Times by SDEE
We at San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange are so grateful for the support of our entrepreneur members, sponsors, partners and volunteers in 2015. Your support helped us bring a wide variety of educational workshops, events and networking opportunities to the San Diego entrepreneur community. Your interactions via our new website and social media pages have greatly increased our ability to reach out to a whole new audience of local entrepreneurs.
We're excited to share our 2015 SDEE events and member highlights in this year-end newsletter. Wishing you a joyful and prosperous 2016!
- SDEE Year in Review
- Featured Interview - Regina Bernal, Coordinator, USC Entrepreneurship & Experiential Learning
- Member News
The San Diego Startup Times by SDEE
You may have noticed the new name of our newsletter, "The San Diego Startup Times by SDEE." We wanted a new name to go with our new goal of increased focus on engaging local entrepreneurs. This August 2015 newsletter features the first in a series of interviews with leaders of local entrepreneurship programs and a new segment sharing tips from successful entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
- Message from the Communications Committee
- Featured Interview: Susan Baxter, PhD, Executive Director CSUPERB - First in a series of interviews with leaders of local entrepreneurship programs
- Tips from the Pros: Bonnie Anderson, PhD, President and CEO of Veracyte - a new segment featuring tips from the experts
- Upcoming & Recent SDEE Events
- Member News
Dear SDEE Members and Friends! You are going to love the new SDEE website. We created a dynamic online community for San Diego entrepreneurs to find helpful events, workshops, local resource listings and interact with fellow entrepreneurs.
Some of our new features include a SDEE business directory, consultants directory, up-to-date member news, interactive SDEE community blog, listings of local entrepreneur resources and a members-only directory and discussion forum. Check it out and join the SDEE community in helping San Diego area entrepreneurs start-up and grow.Read more