Meet SDEE Community

How AI Will Change Funding Opportunities for Biotech Entrepreneurs

On June 21, 2018, LaunchBio hosted an event focused on artificial intelligence (AI) at Genesis in Campus Point. Panelists were Dr. Khai Minh Pham, founder of ThinkingNode; Thomas Kluz, Head of Healthcare Investing at Qualcomm Ventures and General Partner of dRx Capital; Navid Alipour, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Analytics Ventures; Casey Laris, CTO of Reveal Biosciences. The session was moderated by Margot Wohl, a graduate student in neuroscience at UCSD and KPBS Podcast producer.

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Women Breaking the Boundaries of Science

Women Breaking the Boundaries of Science is a BVS La Jolla Biotech Community event to discuss issues and celebrate successes of women in the science industry. This event will include a keynote address by Pamela Gardner (President and CEO of Biotech Vendor Services), a panel discussion moderated by Holly Smithson (CEO, Athena), vendor exhibits, networking, food & cocktails.

Date: June 28, 2018 

Time: 4:30-8:30pm

Venue: San Diego Marriott La Jolla

To attend, please register at:
For more information, please contact Pam Gardner at 858-349-8375 |


Pro Back Office Adds Two New Partners

Pro Back Office Adds Two New Partners

Greg Leiser and Francesca San Diego are Promoted to Partner

Francesca San Diego  

May 24, 2018 — Pro Back Office is pleased to announce the addition of two new partners of the firm, Greg Leiser and Francesca San Diego. “We are beyond excited to bring Fran and Greg onto our management team. They are talented CFO’s whose leadership will bring immense value to our company,” says Jennifer Barnes, Co-Founder of Pro Back Office. Fran, Vice President of Finance and Greg, Vice President of Service Delivery will provide additional leadership to the fast growing company.

Greg Leiser has more than twenty years of experience as a CFO in both public and privately held companies.  He has facilitated or had a role in going-public transactions, secondary offerings and private placements. Greg has performed in a lead role for nine business sale transactions including: advising on deal structures, managing the diligence process, and closing a $5 million financing round.  In 2016 he was named one of San Diego Business Journal’s CFOs of the Year. As a consulting CFO with Pro Back Office for over four years, Greg will continue his impact by supporting Pro Back Office’s client growth and processes.

Francesca San Diego has almost thirty years of experience in finance and business management in a wide range of organizations, including three start-up ventures. Fran’s areas of expertise include financial oversight, strategic planning and business development. Her experience includes key financial positions at Sony and The Wherehouse, serving as CFO of an Internet start-up and CFO and COO of a global entertainment business where she had full P&L responsibility. In 2017 she was named one of San Diego Business Journal’s CFOs of the Year. As a consulting CFO with Pro Back Office for over three years, Fran will be taking on a larger role on the internal team, streamlining where appropriate and ensuring continued financial success.

Pro Back Office, founded in 2012 by Mike Ford and Jennifer Barnes, provides highly skilled operational accounting, finance and strategic consulting talent, on an hourly, fractional, on-site or remote and ongoing or project basis. The firm currently services over 300 clients and has over 90 employees. Pro Back Office operates throughout the Pacific Southwest and in a broad range of industries, from start-ups to publicly traded companies as well as not for profits. The Pro Back Office team leverages decades of industry experience with an innovative, highly successful and personalized approach. “Every company is unique,” Jennifer shares “We take the time to understand their needs and find a solution that works for them; whether that is filling a gap in their accounting or HR department, helping them with a strategic project or becoming their entire finance, accounting and HR team.”

For more information, visit

Get to Know Your Neighbors 2018

By Dr. Roberta Vezza Alexander

On May 3, 2018, San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange (SDEE) held their annual flagship event, Get to know your neighbors, at Green Acre in Campus Point.

The event was sponsored by Maxcyte and Alexandria Real Estate, which provided the space. Before the event, the networking reception was a nice opportunity to chat, sip wine and beer, and snack on delicious pizza. As always, numerous providers of services and equipment for the life sciences showcased their products on tables around the room.

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SDEE Recognizes Volunteers with PF Chang's Dinner

by Amy Duncan, Goldfish Consulting

At our core, SDEE is a grass-roots organization, comprised solely of volunteers. Over 30 strong, SDEE volunteers help to improve the entrepreneur support system by planning and hosting SDEE events, growing membership, attracting corporate sponsors, and promoting SDEE member activities.

Volunteer Dinner

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IT Security and Operations: Protecting Your Business in an Age of Cyber Subterfuge

By Jared C. Hooks, PhD, Science Communicator

At a recent SDEE event, there was a booth setup with an image of a masked man typing furiously on a computer as if the actual Holy Grail was hidden somewhere on a hard drive or server. While I considered it somewhat tongue in cheek, there can be a perception that to target someone’s business at an IT level takes a concerted, concentrated effort that will be wasted on small startups and entrepreneurs. 

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May 2018 Member News

Member News provides an opportunity for SDEE members to share news and announcements. May Member News features:

  • Viva Biotech
  • Flow Paradigm
  • Brandwood Biomedical
  • Jaan Biotherapeutics
  • SGS Life Sciences
  • Atlantic Lab Equipment (ALE)
  • Reveal Biosciences
  • ScaleMatrix
  • Paramit
  • California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)
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EVENT REVIEW: Where New Medicines Actually Come From: The Surprise Inside Story

By Roberta Vezza Alexander, PharmD, PhD

On March 6, 2018, Dr. Donald Kirsch spoke about drug discovery and presented his book, The drug hunters: the improbable quest to discover new medicines, at an event organized by SDEE and LaunchBio. The event took place at BioLabs in Campus Point and was sponsored by the law firm Procopio, the City of San Diego, and BioLabs.

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Second Annual Boehringer Ingelheim San Diego Innovation Prize

On February 27, 2018 Boehringer Ingelheim hosted the second annual Boehringer Ingelheim San Diego innovation prize at BioLabs San Diego in Campus Point.

Nine local startup companies participated and presented their work. The coveted price was free lab space for a year at BioLabs. Upon checking in, the attendees were given “cash” to invest in these companies. They were then encouraged to review the posters, talk with the presenters, and invest their millions while networking and snacking on delicious food and wine.

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iTALK: Crafting your Personal Pitch

By Jared C. Hooks, PhD, Science Communicator

SDEE and LaunchBio welcomed Kelly C. Huang to give a primer on networking and pitch-crafting for entrepreneurs on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at Genesis at Campus Point. Kelly is a corporate learning facilitator at HBS Publishing and teaches classes in leadership at the UCSD extension facility. She broadly covered three main areas of focus for establishing a network as a new entrepreneur: your pitch, personal branding, and strategic networking. I’ll give you the quick and dirty for each, but it benefits everyone from the budding startup socialite to the introverted innovator to take some time to brush up on networking skills and identify areas of improvement for yourself.

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ALT San Diego



Ted Jacobs
Executive Managing Director
Global Life Sciences Practices Group


Takeda San Diego


Duane Morris MaxCyte Wagenknecht Barney and Barney Longfellow

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.

© 2015 San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange. All Rights Reserved