Building Biotechs to Last: See Bonnie Anderson, Dan Bradbury & More

11/7/13Follow @xconomy

For a few years, “virtual” biotech companies with a single asset and a handful of employees and contractors were the rage. The idea was to get a small team to work together a few years, hit some milestone, and flip it to Big Pharma.

This year, in what looks like the second-biggest crop of biotech IPOs in history, investors are voting in favor of a different model. They’re betting mostly on biotech companies that can endure.

I’m excited to say that a few of these companies are going to join us at Xconomy for our next big biotech event in San Francisco—“Building Biotechs to Last.” The event is set for the afternoon of Dec. 9 at Genentech Hall, UCSF Mission Bay. And the lineup of speakers keeps getting better by the day.

Here’s who has been added to the lineup in the last few days:

Bonnie Anderson, CEO, Veracyte (NASDAQ: VCYT). Anderson is fresh off the IPO trail, having taken her South San Francisco-based company public at $13 a share last month. The company, which makes a molecular diagnostic test for thyroid cancer, is one of the few that has been able to secure enough support from insurers to show investors it has a viable business model.

Dan Bradbury. He was the CEO of San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals when it was acquired last year by Bristol-Myers Squibb for about $7 billion. Bradbury is now a member of the boards of San Diego-based Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), Menlo Park, CA-based Geron (NASDAQ: GERN), and Menlo Park, CA-based Corcept Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CORT). Bradbury was on the Illumina board last year when it fended off a hostile takeover bid from Roche that started at $44.50 a share. Illumina closed at $94.42 yesterday. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing Bradbury and his fellow board members are happy they chose to stay independent.

Ashley Dombkowski

Ashley Dombkowski

Ashley Dombkowski, managing director, Bay City Capital. Dombkowski recently went back to the venture capital business after a stint as the chief business officer at Mountain View, CA-based 23andMe. She previously worked at MPM Capital, and was involved with portfolio companies like Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM), Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RIGL), and 23andMe.

Nina Kjellson, general partner, InterWest Partners. Kjellson is one of the younger-generation partners at the firm, and has been a part of companies that chose to stay independent and those that chose to sell. San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics, an antibiotic developer, is one of her investments that recently opted to be acquired by Lexington, MA-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST).

Nina Kjellson of InterWest Partners

Nina Kjellson

These new voices will add lots of fresh perspective to an already-loaded lineup of speakers. Here’s who else is scheduled to be there at UCSF on Dec. 9.

Stanley Crooke, CEO, Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS)

Chris Garabedian, CEO, Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT)

Paul Hastings, CEO, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OMED)

Bob More, senior advisor, venture investing, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Adelene Perkins, CEO, Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI)

Kim Popovits, CEO, Genomic Health (NASDAQ: GHDX)

Bryan Roberts, partner, Venrock

I’ll have more to say about how the program is shaping up as we get closer to Dec. 9. But it’s safe to say this is turning into one of our best life sciences events of the year, and it covers a timely and important theme for the biotech industry. So be sure to save the date on your calendar, get your tickets now, and join a lot of your peers for a great networking opportunity in San Francisco on Dec. 9.

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