San Diego Biotech in 2030: A Center for Stem Cells, Genomics, Software, Neuroscience

4/2/10Follow @xconomy

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biotech companies that were independent: Agouron and Idec. Gen-Probe was also growing. So there was already a fairly substantial biotech base, and there were a lot of new platform-based biotech companies starting in San Diego. It was an exciting environment. One of the things I found exciting about moving here was the prospect, that ‘By the way, if things don’t work out at Amylin, there’s somewhere else you could go.”

“Scripps Research Institute had a global big deal with Johnson & Johnson, and that was the only major pharma presence in San Diego at the time. That’s changed dramatically now with Pfizer, Novartis, J&J, Takeda here now. From a perspective of what’s changed, we’ve seen San Diego become a very large center for diagnostic companies with Invitrogen (now Life Technologies), Illumina establishing itself as the leading sequencing and genotyping company. Gen-Probe is continuing to grow. Genoptix as well. If you look at the diagnostics side, it’s really back to the future with Hybritech, and diagnostics coming back.”

Schimmel on what he would do if he were a venture capitalist with limited resources to invest in San Diego research:

“I’d look very hard for those laboratories that I thought had really innovative ideas, and find a way to provide some funding, and get a call on the intellectual property side. Hopefully, in 12 to 24 months, I’d have enough IP from that effort to syndicate with firms outside of San Diego. I’d want to be the one with the idea, the one to have financed the laboratory, and gotten the kernel of the idea going. I think it’s much easier to do that here than it is in big universities on the East Coast or in Northern California. You have such great access to people here. There’s a sense of friendliness and openness. It partly comes from the fact that we have so many institutions here [that] are private and small.”

Rusty Gage on the current trend he sees among venture capitalists:

“It’s almost as if the investors don’t have as much confidence anymore as they used to. Maybe they have less money, but they also have less confidence in their own judgment. The thing scientists worry about is that when you have a good idea, and you want to move it forward, there’s a sense that you need to have a Phase I clinical trial ready to go. I worry that is a criterion that will cause people to move too quickly along, and make commitments too far out. I understand the driver for that, but I think there should be caution around moving too quickly.”

Bradbury on new attitudes toward investment coming out of the downturn:

“Who makes up the venture community now is changing. You’re seeing a lot more corporate venture. Basically, discovery is non-existent now in pharma. Essentially, non-existent. Some of the size of the corporate venture funds out there are pretty significant now, if you look at Lilly, Novo, J&J, SR One. These are pretty big funds that companies are assigning to discovery. It’s pretty smart, because … Next Page »

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