SDEE Newsletter_February 2017


Newsletter Highlights

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


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SDEE Newsletter_December 2016

The San Diego Startup Times by SDEE

Newsletter Highlights

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

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.



Featured Interview

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

Member News

Montana Molecular
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
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 or 858-768-2100.   

Nucleus Biologics
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:

Allele Biotechnology
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
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.​




SDEE Newsletter_October 2016


Newsletter Highlights

  • 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

Featured Interview

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.

read more

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 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.

Member News

Aequor, Inc.

  • 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.

Neuropore Therapies, Inc. - Neuropore Therapies announced achievement of $5 Million Milestone with UCB Collaboration.

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.

Abilita Bio, Inc. - Awarded NCI Phase I SBIR Grant to Develop Therapeutic Antibodies Targeting Metastatic Breast Cancer.

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.


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SDEE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded by local San Diego entrepreneurs
in order to provide a voice for the early stage start-up, to support new entrepreneurs and their companies,
and to sponsor networking and educational events
to help develop the skills necessary to bring funding, business, and jobs to the San Diego area.

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