SDEE Newsletter_August 2015

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!

Newsletter highlights:

  • 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 San Diego Entrepreneurs,

This has been an exciting year for the SDEE Communications Committee. The launch of our new SDEE website on the Nation Builder platform has expanded our ability to engage with members and reach out to San Diego entrepreneurs in a whole new way. We're using this interactive new website to bring you articles with tips on resources, share recaps and photos from recent events, broadcast the latest member news and develop ongoing dialogues with the community through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. 

I am especially pleased to introduce you to our Communication Committee members: Amy Duncan, DeeAnn Visk, Cheslav Versky, Danielle Hayes and myself, Sylvia Norman. We are fortunate to have a team with a depth of expertise in blogging, interviewing and social media that can drive our expanded entrepreneur community engagement. 

We invite you to join us in contributing resource & member news on our blog and following us on Twitter (@SDEEorg), LinkedIn and Facebook

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Sylvia Norman, PhD, Founder of Molecular Diagnostics Consulting; SDEE Communications Committee Chair, [email protected]

Featured Interview

by Amy Duncan, Goldfish Consulting

Want to Help Academic Entrepreneurs Succeed? Check out Amy Duncan's interview with Susan Baxter, PhD, Executive Director CSUPERB

Commercializing academic research isn’t typically included in the curriculum for scientific training. Entrepreneurial researchers struggle to translate their skills to industry and their inventions into a new company. Finding a market fit, or just navigating the entrepreneurial world can be a hard puzzle to solve. The skills required for success in a start-up differ from skills needed to succeed in an academic lab. 

To address this gap, the NSF created I-Corps to help academic researchers commercialize their technologies. I-Corps provides grants and a framework for academic faculty and students to learn entrepreneurship skills and identify valuable product opportunities.

I-Corps works through “Nodes” and “Sites” identified through grant awards to carry out its mission. NSF makes I-Corps grant awards to academic institutions that have existing innovation or entrepreneurial programs in place. In August, the White House announced an expansion of the program extending to organizations other than universities. One I-Corps Site is the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB).

Susan Baxter, PhD, Executive Director of CSUPERB

Click here to view more of this interview.



by DeeAnn Visk, PhD

Developing Molecular Diagnostics Tests -  4 Tips From a Pro

I interviewed Bonnie Anderson, President and CEO of Veracyte for a GEN (Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News) article.  In addition to being a dynamic and engaging interviewee, she shared a sound plan for the development of further molecular diagnostic tests by her company. Veracyte utilizes genomic technology to help patients avoid unnecessary surgery during disease diagnosis, reducing risk and healthcare costs.

Here they are:

1)  Understand the clinical pathway for diagnosing a medical condition; intervene at the right point in the clinical pathway, answering a question that changes what happens next for the patient.

2)  Do the science.  For example, your product must be good enough to keep most patients out of surgery, or you will not have a commercially viable product.

3)  Demonstrate clear value by publishing in well-recognized journals.  Use of the product must change patient care to be of value.

4)  Get reimbursed by payers.  This is why it is imperative to demonstrate the value of your test.

Bonnie Anderson

Bonnie Anderson, President and CEO of Veracyte.  Source: Veracyte website, used with permission.

Click here to view more of this interview.


Save the Date for our October 7th event 

Financings: Tales From the Tranches and Other Adventures in Raising Money 

Bella Vista Social Club & Cafe and The Roth Auditorium at The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine

2880 Torrey Scenic Drive, La Jolla, California 92037

We have a great panel lined-up: 

Kevin Forrest, Ph.D, Chief Operating Officer and CFO, Cidara Therapeutics

Zach Hornby, Chief Operating Officer, Ignyta

John Schmid, Former CFO (Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Trius Therapeutics), Board Member (Neos Therapeutics, AnaptysBio, Speak, Inc.)

Bill Rice, Ph.D, Chairman, President and CEO, Aptose Biosciences

Randy Schreckhise, Chief Operating Officer, Abilita Bio, Inc.



 SDEE Happy Hour

Join us every 3rd Thursday of the month for our SDEE Happy Hours. Our next one is September 17th, 5-7 pm at New English Brewing Company. It's a great way to meet local entrepreneurs in an informal setting! 

For more information on upcoming events, please visit the events page on our website.



Get To Know Your Neighbors, June 9, 2015

GTKYN 2015

This year's SDEE vendor show was a huge success with 40 exhibitors, over 150 attendees and a thoroughly enjoyable presentation by our keynote speaker Bob Baltera, CEO of Laguna Pharmaceuticals. The vendors showcased products & services encompassing a wide range of industries including biotech, pharma, consumables, reagents, non-profits, consulting and food. This event proved to be a great way to discover new vendors, resources and establish new collaborations. Check out our SDEE Facebook page for more photos of this event.


ORPHAGEN – small business member Scott Thacher

July 1, 2015. Orphagen Pharmaceuticals announced today that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the company $224,954 under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program to identify small molecule antagonist ligands for an novel drug discovery target for cancer immunotherapy. Orphagen proposes to find drug-like molecules to a previously unexplored orphan drug target that normally suppresses the immune response.

 “We believe there is an opportunity to identify small molecule ligands to this orphan drug target.  The ligands will enhance T cell activation and thus stimulate anti-tumor responses by enhancing the ongoing immune surveillance that already occurs in cancer patients.” said Dr. Haiyan Tao, Scientist and Principal Investigator of the grant. The drug-like molecules identified from this project would create a powerful and potentially safer therapeutic tool to enhance clinical cancer immunotherapy and improve patient survival.

Orphagen is a first-mover in the identification of small molecule compounds to three orphan nuclear receptors. Support from the NIH is a critical part of the Company’s overall strategy to discover new classes of drugs and commercialize them through partnerships.

EXPLORA – small business member Richard Lin

Explora BioLabs will be opening its new preclinical contract research headquarters and fourth vivarium incubator facility in the Coast 9 complex in Sorrento Valley in mid-September. Together with its three other facilities in Torrey Pines Mesa and Mission Bay, Explora will now operate 40,000 square feet of small animal research space. Explora looks forward to using its expanded capacity to better serve San Diego’s vibrant entrepreneurial biotech community in moving their pharmacology programs forward. If you would like an invitation to Explora’s Sorrento Valley facility Grand Opening celebration or a tour of our new vivarium, please contact CEO Richard Lin at [email protected].

ACD (Advanced Cellular Dynamics) – small business member David Schwarz

ACD is Turning 100!

ACD will soon be releasing our 100th cell-based protein tyrosine kinase assay and we invite you to share in the celebration! Our assay platform reveals kinase biologies that can go undetected using more traditional biochemical assays. We want you to learn more about our system and invite you to participate in our upcoming webinar titled “Exploring the impact of genetically-altered kinases on small-molecule efficacy”. This ongoing series is hosted by Carna Biosciences and the next presentation is scheduled for September 9th at 10 am PDT. Registration is free and will entitle you to promotional discounts on our profiling services. Please visit to learn more and to register for the event.


Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions Provides Regulatory Support to Help National Institutes of Health Develop Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases

DUBLIN, Ohio – June 30, 2015 – Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions has been selected to provide regulatory support to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) for its Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program under a research subcontract with Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. (Leidos Biomed). NCATS is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

NCATS’ TRND program is designed to advance pre-clinical development of small molecule and biologic therapies, as well as compilation and submission of investigational new drug applications (INDs) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for these therapies. press release

ALLELE BIOTECHNOLOGY & PHARMACEUTICALS - small business member Jiwu Wang

Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Allele”), a leader in the development of specialized cells for pharmaceutical drug discovery and regenerative medicine, today announced that it has closed the purchase of a new facility intended for its cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) production of clinical-grade cells for cell therapy applications.

The 18,000 square-foot facility, located near the main headquarters of Allele in San Diego, California, will be the center of production of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) using Allele’s proprietary synthetic mRNA platform, a technology that generates hiPSCs with neither the random integration of foreign DNA nor the use of whole virus or virus-based elements, drawbacks that are common to other technologies for making hiPSCs. Such “footprint-free” cells will be produced by Allele for industrial and academic partnerships, as well as Allele’s own efforts in the area of cellular therapeutics. press release

ONE WORLD LAB - small business member Mike Simson

One World Lab entered an agreement with OriGene Technologies, Inc to become a global distributor of OriGene's antibody portfolio. "The addition of OriGene's proprietary antibodies supports our strategy and broadens our portfolio to more than 75,000 unique antibodies. Researchers will have several thousand more antibodies to affordably sample, while knowing with confidence that each antibody is sourced from the original manufacturer and not re-labeled.  

OWL allows researchers to affordably evaluate multiple antibodies to each antigen, before committing to a full size vial. Now they can rank and score each antibody to determine which will be best for their assay.  When they participate is the unbiased review section they earn significant discounts towards full size vials.  Researchers are doing more validation experiments with smaller amounts, and this is accelerating the pace of discovery.”  Mike Simson, CEO of One World Lab

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