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#SDBNJune Panelist Profile: Joseph Jackson

Posted by Mary Canady June 23rd, 2014 .
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joseph jackson headshotBiography: Joseph P Jackson III is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and activist in the “Open Science Movement.” He has been studying the rise of new open innovation models since 2000, when the arrival of Napster prompted him to think radically about the economics of sharing in the digital era. He is a graduate of Harvard College (2004) and the London School of Economics (2005).
As Founder of the Open Science Summit, and co-founder of BioCurious, the first Silicon Valley biotechnology membership lab, he and his work have been featured or quoted in Popular Mechanics (August 2011), GQ (France), Nature, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Boston Globe, and many other blogs and outlets.
A recognized thought leader in the emerging DIY (do it yourself) biology movement, he consults to a range of early stage biotechnology companies and to different stakeholders in government (FBI, HHS), academia, and industry, as these groups seek to understand the critical issues surrounding Open Innovation in the 21st century knowledge economy.

As an entrepreneur, he has focused on the convergence of biotechnology and information technology. He is a mentor to the Thiel Foundation 20under20 program, was a participant at the Unreasonable Institute 2010 inaugural program, a participant in Start Up Chile, and a 2011 Echoing Green Finalist (one of 30 entrepreneurs out of more than 20K applicants to the oldest Social Entrepreneurship program in the world). His mission is to enable the emergence of a new era of entrepreneurship by democratizing access to technology and distributing it so that small innovators can leverage it to have large impacts. He relocated to Carlsbad in January 2013 to oversee the launch of the Bio, Tech, and Beyond community lab incubator.
Tell us about yourself:
I am an activist, entrepreneur and organizer in the “open science” movement.
What gets you up in the morning?
Caffeine and a foreboding sense of impending doom. Seriously though, there is a sense of urgency that the pace of biomedical innovation must accelerate if we are to make any progress against the great public health challenges of the 21st century (age related diseases such as neurodegeneration and more).
What’s your current job and how did you get involved with it?
I currently oversee the Bio Tech and Beyond lab incubator in Carlsbad. I originally met the city of Carlsbad in 2011 after learning from a colleague at UCSD that the city had been trying to establish an incubator to encourage economic development in North County. We put together a team and submitted a proposal to establish a program but ultimately we didn’t pursue it. 18 months later I revisited the idea and we submitted another proposal, this time deciding to jump in and give it our best shot if we were awarded the opportunity.
How and why did you choose your current location?
We are in Carlsbad because the city granted us the use of a vacant building for 5 years to establish a life sciences incubator. Carlsbad is a great location in many respects, with a great climate and highly skilled workforce. However there is a perceived distance from the heart of the biotech cluster located near UCSD and Torrey Pines.
Describe your company’s funding and business model:
We have a hybrid approach. We rent bench space to early stage start ups at a greatly subsidized (below market rate). We also foster several business to business services and are working to establish opportunities for underemployed biotech professionals to pick up contract work. In this model of “freelance biotech” the researchers can earn cash flow while they are in between full time long term positions and our lab gets a cut. Finally we have a number of NIH and SBIR grants that we have submitted and we expect to have a pipeline of these which will pay overhead/indirect costs to support the lab.
What’s been the most important quality for achieving success in your case?
Extreme persistence and the willingness to be flexible to chase all kinds of business opportunities.
What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
Several moments stand out. Holding the very first Open Science Summit in 2010 to rally a global community around the ideals of accelerating research. The launch of BioCurious as the first community lab in the world. The creation of Bio Tech and Beyond and launching our lab with over 400 people in attendance. The opportunity to work with inspiring patient advocates like Eric Valor, who despite his affliction with ALS, continues to strive to find a cure and is undaunted.

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#BIO2014 San Diego Representation #1: Who’s Speaking?

Posted by Mary Canady June 20th, 2014 .
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Image courtesy Biotechnology Industry Organization

Image courtesy Biotechnology Industry Organization

San Diego Biotech companies have great representation at the 2014 Biotechnology Industry Organization convention taking place June 23-26 here. We’ll be highlighting local companies speaking, exhibiting, and otherwise participating here on the SDBN blog, and you can see all our coverage at sdbn.org/bio2014. In the table below, we list companies who are speaking in the organized sessions, and note that 76 local companies are presenting, including the Business Forum which is not listed below. Check out the table below and click on the name of the session to link to it and add it to your schedule. Support our local companies by attending, Tweeting about, and otherwise participating in their sessions. Also note that a few of the sessions have a reception at the end, so you can talk informally with the speakers as well. Stay tuned for the next post in our series on local participation at BIO, featuring companies exhibiting at BIO2014.

San Diego BIO2014 Representation
Session Description Local Representation Date Time Location
Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp & Reception Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp is an intensive, two-day program that walks you through the necessary steps and gives you the skills to transform technology and invention into a viable company. Lumena Pharmaceuticals, Sofinnova Ventures, Avalon Ventures Sunday 6/22 8:00 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. Room 9
Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp – Day 2 (See Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp & Reception description) Psynomics, Genoa Pharmaceuticals Monday 6/23 8:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Room 9
Digital Health Forum & Reception San Diego has a unique edge in digital health as we possess strengths in both biotechnology and wireless. Check out this forum to learn the latest. Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance, Scripps Translational Science Institute, Dexcom, Janssen Tuesday 6/24 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Room 8
Surf’s Up – Algae, Marine Biotech and Synthetic Biology are Riding a New Wave of Industrial Biotech in Southern California Hear local biofuel and green technology leaders discuss the state of the industry. Synthetic Genomics, UCSD, Genomatica, Cellana Tuesday 6/24 9:30-10:30 a.m. Room 10
Industrial Biotech – Manufacturing Fast in the Far East Exploring and learning from the success of southeast Asia in industrial biotechnology. Verdezyne Tuesday 6/24 10:45-11:45 a.m. Room 10
Thriving Again in 2014: Preparing for Success, Not Just Survival at FDA Advisory Committee Meetings Do’s and don’ts of FDA Advisory Committee Meetings from case studies and firsthand experiences. Arena Tuesday 6/24 3:00-4:00 p.m. Room 31B
Successful Industry-Disease Foundation Partnerships: A National Survey and Leadership Perspective Disease foundations are playing an increasingly important role in advancing research and helping to bring new treatments to market. Industry and foundation executives share what they view as the key opportunities and challenges for industry-foundation collaborations. Ceregene Tuesday 6/24 3:00- 4:00 p.m. Room 32AB
Big Data: Genomic Medicine and The Big Data Revolution This panel will bring together key thought leaders in personalized genomic medicine to explore how big data will change the landscape of the practice of medicine. Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance, Illumina, MD Revolution Wednesday 6/25 8:30- 9:30 a.m. Room 8
Blazing New Trails in Disruptive Innovation: Stem Cells, RNA and Epigenetics-Based Therapeutics Progress and challenges in three promising therapeutic areas. Isis, UCSD Wednesday 6/25 9:00- 10:00 a.m. Room 33A
Stem Cells Delivering Results Today as Models of Disease Learn how stem cells are being used effectively to model disease. CIRM, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Wednesday 6/25 10:15- 11:30 a.m. Room 9
Encounters in the Third Dimension: Improving the Clinical Predictability of Preclinical Models for Drug Discovery and Disease Modeling The potential for 3D printing for drug discovery and disease modeling is truly exciting, and this panel will evaluate the commercial readiness of the technologies. Organovo Wednesday 6/25 3:00-4:00 p.m. Room 33A
Innovative Options and Models for Clinical Operations in Small Biotechs Learn how smaller biotech companies are finding creative ways to implement clinical trials. Tragara, Tracon, PRA International Wednesday 6/25 3:00-4:00 p.m. Room 31A
Communication Pitfalls for Drug Candidates in Clinical Trials This session tackles the pitfalls of clinical trial communications and offers policies and procedures to help companies sidestep these risks. Cytori Thursday 6/26 10:30-11:30 a.m. Room 31A
Viva La Collaboration! How Mexican Policy is Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships to Spur Biotech Innovation and Investment Innovation thought leader and UCSD Vice Chancellor Mary Walshok joins others in a discussion about Mexico’s commitment to biotechnology and synergies with the San Diego region. UCSD Thursday 6/26 11:00-11:45 a.m. Room 5B
Navigating the Intellectual Property Minefield to Protect Personalized Medicine Innovations Worldwide A panel of top U.S. and European attorneys, a major diagnostics company and university technology transfer representatives will discuss personalized medicine intellecutal property issues and provide creative strategies for protecting personalized medicine innovations. UCSD Thursday 6/26 1:00-2:00 p.m. Room 7AB
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#SDBNJune Event Panelist Profile: Claire Weston

Posted by Mary Canady June 19th, 2014 .
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>Claire Weston, Founder & CEO at Reveal Biosciences

Claire Weston, Founder & CEO at Reveal Biosciences

In advance of our June 24th Reinventing California Biotech event, we’re profiling our panelists here on the blog so that we can forego the stuffy PowerPoint presentations/introductions and spend more time discussing the issues. See our entry below on Claire Weston and track all panelists profiles using the #SDBNJune tag (also the hashtag for the event).
Tell us about yourself:
Scientist, entrepreneur, mom – not necessarily in that order.
What gets you up in the morning?
I love my job! I am lucky to work with some very smart interesting people and I enjoy the rich diversity of science and business opportunities we are exposed to all the time. Every day is different and it’s a very innovative environment that can be challenging and difficult but extremely rewarding and fun.
What’s your current job and how did you get involved with it?
I am the Founder and CEO of Reveal Biosciences. We’re developing tissue-based diagnostics and assays using proprietary advanced technologies for our biotech and pharma clients. Starting a business had always been in the back of my mind and I saw a real opportunity in the market for the technology we’re developing today. With a combination of good timing and luck I was able to take the leap.
How and why did you choose your current location?
San Diego is the perfect environment to start a biotech company. There is so much innovation and potential collaboration right here, and a huge diversity of potential clients from biotech and pharma. There are also many networking opportunities and business resources available that mean that it is easy to find advice and support when you need it.
Describe your company’s funding and business model:
We’re a privately held company and with no outside investment. Our day-to-day operations and technology development are funded by revenue generated by our service business. Our services complement our broader vision and give us the freedom and flexibility to explore new ideas as they arise. We currently work with a wide range of over 50 biotech and pharma clients on a variety of studies ranging from routine histology to advanced assay and novel diagnostic development.
What’s been the most important quality for achieving success in your case?
Developing good relationships and a good reputation for quality has been key to our success. Most of our clients continue to return with repeat business and recommend us to colleagues, and this has really fuelled the growth of our business.
What’s working well with your current life science business?
I think automation is a key part of the success of this business as it brings a host of benefits from scalability, consistency, reproducibility and flexible capacity. We prioritize automation in the lab and have developed complimentary software that enhances our workflow. Most of our projects result in a validated computer controlled lab protocol and quantification algorithm from our ImageDx software. Over the long term, this offers a great deal of efficiency as the projects scale.
What’s been the hardest part about your current job?
It’s always difficult to find the right balance between executing on current projects, expanding the business and pushing the technology development. Our services are a priority to generate revenue the company needs to survive and grow, but the long term “big win” is in the technology we are developing. It is easy to allow the services side to consume all our time but it’s important for us to focus on developing new technology too. Finding a balance between the two can be challenging.
What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
I have been lucky throughout my career but I am actually very proud of where we are now as a company. We literally started Reveal in a garage at the side of another biotech. In the space of two years we’ve come a long way and now have a really well equipped lab, a growing client base and very talented team. What we’re doing is not always easy so it feels good to see how we’ve grown.
How do you see biotech business models evolving over the next 10 years?
As an industry we have to shift our expectations from finding the next blockbuster drug to building efficient mechanisms to develop therapies and diagnostics for the emerging world of precision medicine. Outsourcing is becoming an attractive option and specialized CRO’s and technology providers will be increasingly well positioned to generate cost effective decision making data. Just like many other industries, biotech is benefitting from the dramatic gains in efficiencies derived from our new hyper connected world making matching a specialist technology company with niche research groups very easy. I think business models will evolve to take advantage of these resources and partnerships on a global scale.

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Where To Eat & Drink At #BIO2014 Near The San Diego Convention Center

Posted by Mary Canady June 19th, 2014 .
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Where should you grab a quick bite, or wine and dine an important client while attending the Biotechnology Industry Organization 2014 convention (#BIO2014) next week? Here are the San Diego Biotechnology Network’s suggestions, and we’ve limited it to places we’ve tried personally, or have heard a lot about. Use the map above or the list below to navigate. Sadly, we are unable to recommend a Mexican place at this time (although you can get fish tacos at Tin Fish), but there is still some time to do some “research,” stay tuned and we may be able to update the list. Also, if you have a car, San Diego has several entries in Nate Silver’s data driven “top burritos” list, check them out! Use the table below which lists the “fanciness” level, and is sorted by the distance from the convention center. There’s plenty of great craft beer on tap downtown, and check out this list for the best ranked breweries and if you have a car to visit their tasting rooms (Stone Tap Room downtown is a must-visit, see below).

Downtown San Diego Restaurant/Pub Recommendations for #BIO2014
Name Fanciness 1-4 Description Distance from SDCC (mi)
San Diego Convention Center 1 Believe it or not there’s a fairly nice cafeteria-style restaurant in the convention center. It’s called Tides and it’s near the “A” hall close to where you enter the convention center nearest Harbor Drive (northernmost entrance). Great if you want a hot sandwich and don’t want to walk far. 0.00
Tin Fish Gaslamp 1 A favorite, this restaurant is very close and you can get San Diego’s famous fish taco here. 0.15
The Old Spaghetti Factory 3 Got pasta? This place is a very quick walk from the convention center and has hearty food (try the lobster mac-n-cheese) and a great bar on the top floor, Dussini Loft. 0.16
Gaslamp Strip Club – A Steak Place 3 This place is not what it seems, but you’ll have fun stealing some matches from here and telling your friends. It’s a cook-your-own steak place with fantastic drinks. Bonus points if you catch the “Christmas Story” tie in. 0.19
Berkeley Pizza 1 Can California do Chicago style pizza? You betcha! Go here for a casual meal but be warned that pizzas take a long time to bake, call ahead for best results. 0.28
Cafe 222 2 California breakfast at its finest, and they also serve lunch. 0.29
Burger Lounge 1 Nouveau burgers anyone? This chain makes you feel like eating a burger is a healthy move, and they also serve great veggie burgers and trendy drinks. Be the ultimate burger hipster and try it out! 0.31
The Field Irish Pub 2 If you came to San Diego for that great Irish Pub experience, this is the place! Have a Guinness and fish and chips in a cozy corner or on the patio. 0.32
Stone Brewing Tap Room 2 You want to taste San Diego craft beer? Look no further, Stone put us on the map with excellent beer and a collaborative style to brewing the best we have to offer. 0.33
Searsucker 4 Famous chef Brian Malarkey’s restaurant, take that big client here to impress them without looking like you’re trying too hard. 0.37
Ralphs 1 If you’re tired of boxed lunches and restaurant food, you can walk to Ralph’s grocery store and stock up on “real food” and they also have a nice salad bar. 0.40
Basic 2 This pizza joint is a bit of a walk but has a cool warehouse feeling and sells some craft beer. 0.41
Neighborhood 2 If you’re a beer lover, this spot is for you. Lots of great beers on tap and satisfying pub grub. Walk with a friend at night. 0.48
Westfield Horton Plaza 1 Horton plaza has a food court and, well, it is what it is–a big variety of mall food. However, if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone and get some gifts to take home, here’s the spot! Fun fact: Horton Plaza’s interesting (and sometimes confusing) layout was designed by science fiction author Ray Bradbury! 0.50
Seaport Village 1-4 More restaurants here than you can shake a stick at, and lots of souvenir shops too. Oh, and did we mention it’s right on the water? 0.52
Cafe Chloe 3 A bit out of the way, but if you’re looking for some French eclectic food in a charming environment, look no further. Try the pommes frites with dipping sauces (fancy French fries). Walk with a friend at night. 0.53
Kansas City Barbeque 2 Famous for being one of the filming locations for the movie Top Gun, you can really get your tourist fix here. 0.54
The Cheesecake Factory 3 So new we haven’t checked it out yet, but it’s part of a well known restaurant chain in the region with an extensive menu and of course great desserts. 0.57
Yard House San Diego 3 A downtown favorite, worth the walk. Extensive menu and lots of local craft beers on tap. 0.65
House of Blues 3 A bit out of the way, but filling “suburban soul food” and a great atmosphere if you like rock-n-roll. Great place to buy souvenirs for the kids. 0.69
Hodad’s 1 Hodad’s burgers are a San Diego staple, starting in Ocean Beach. This out of the way place would be best traveled to over a long lunch or with a friend at night. 0.71
The Fish Market 3 A bit of a walk, but well worth it if you want to get great seafood and sit on the ocean. You just may see a seal swimming by! 0.89

Do you have any restaurants or pubs to add? Comment below or give your recommendations to @sdbn on Twitter.

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#SDBNJune Event Panelist Profile: Ethan Perlstein

Posted by Mary Canady June 10th, 2014 .
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Ethan Perlstein

Ethan Perlstein, Founder at Perlstein Lab

In advance of our June 24th Reinventing California Biotech event, we’re profiling our panelists here on the blog so that we can forego the stuffy PowerPoint presentations/introductions and spend more time discussing the issues. See our first entry below on Ethan Perlstein and track all panelists profiles using the #SDBNJune tag (also the hashtag for the event).
Biography:
Over the course of the last decade first as a graduate student at Harvard and then as a postdoc at Princeton, Dr. Ethan Perlstein developed an approach to studying complex drugs with simple model organisms called evolutionary pharmacology. Last year Dr. Perlstein left academia in the face of “postdocalypse,” declared scientific independence, and decided to apply evolutionary pharmacology to orphan/rare diseases. His journey of professional reinvention includes forays into tweeting, blogging, crowdfunding, and consulting. It culminates in Perlstein Lab, a SF-based biotech startup and public benefit corporation that is focused on precision orphan drug discovery.
Tell us about yourself:
I’m the founder and CEO of Perlstein Lab, a SF-based biotech startup and public benefit corporation focused on precision orphan disease drug discovery. Before becoming an indie scientist/biotech entrepreneur, I trained for over a decade in academia as a grad student and postdoc.
What gets you up in the morning?
Perlstein Lab’s mission to bring precision medicine to orphan disease patients get me up every morning. And it’s one of the last things I think about before going to sleep every night.
What’s your current job and how did you get involved with it?
Perlstein Lab is the phoenix that rose out of the ashes of my failed academic job bid. My professional reinvention was made possible by Twitter. I found out about the rare disease community from patient advocates on Twitter, and I also met my investors on Twitter. (That’s the subject of another post!)
How and why did you choose your current location?
I’ve wanted to move to the Bay Area for some time. It’s the #1 biocluster in the country, if not the world.
How does Southern/Northern California life science business differ from other areas?
I was a graduate student in Boston/Cambridge, the #2 biocluster. From what I can tell, it’s a great place to do science. But after 15 years in the Northeast, I was done with old man winter. I’m looking forward to learning more about the SoCal scene!
Describe your company’s funding and business model:
Perlstein Lab is funded by a mix of strategic investors, angels and family offices, all of whom have a personal interest or connection to rare diseases. Our business model is hybrid: we will either internally develop or out-license orphan drug candidates.
What’s been the most important quality for achieving success in your case?
Targeted persistence. Although people talk about a rare disease bubble, seed financing is still hard to come by. Investors are rare; rare disease patients/advocates are by definition rare; the intersection of the two is exceedingly rare.
What’s working well with your current life science business?
We didn’t have to struggle to come up with product-market fit. That means we can focus nearly all of our energies on the science and discovery process.
What’s been the hardest part about your current job?
The hardest part is waiting for reality to catch up to expectations.
What’s been the proudest moment in your career?
Proving that Twitter can be a meritocracy.
How do you see biotech business models evolving over the next 10 years?
I’m personally invested in organizing a rare disease moonshot, so I’d like to see more startups coalesce around rare disease drug discovery in collaboration with patient groups. I’d also like to see successful biotech entrepreneurs exit and pursue independent science.
If you could give one piece of advice to other life science entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Join Twitter and start tweeting.
At the event June 24th, what topics are you interested in discussing and what types of people are you looking to meet?
I’d like to discuss novel early-stage funding models, precision medicine and rare diseases. I’m hoping to meet inspiring biotech entrepreneurs and rare disease advocates.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for inviting me to participate!

Register for the June 24th event!

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