San Diego’s Quest to Fight the “Diabesity” Epidemic, Coming Jan. 27

1/13/11Follow @xconomy

California may have more than its share of fit and healthy people when you look at the public health stats, but it’s also ground zero for the fight against the closely related lifestyle epidemics that threaten to bankrupt our healthcare system—diabetes and obesity.

Many of the most innovative ideas for fighting these conditions are emerging in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’m looking forward to convening some of the leading lights at our next Xconomy Forum, titled “San Diego’s Fight Against Diabesity.” This event will be from 6 pm to 8:15 pm on Thursday, January 27, at Amylin Pharmaceuticals’ headquarters in San Diego.

I’m putting the finishing touches on this stellar event, and have a few new features to highlight. First, we’ve added another great speaker to the feature panel—John “Chip” Scarlett. He’s the executive chairman of South San Francisco-based Vega Therapeutics, a UCSD and University of Michigan spinoff developing novel diabetes drugs that fight inflammation. Scarlett is an endocrinologist by training who has successfully sold the last two biotech companies he led—Tercica and Proteolix—for potentially more than $1 billion combined when it is all said and done. Scarlett has dared to start from scratch in the past year with Vega, and can talk about why he thinks entrepreneurs can still start diabetes companies even in an era of tough new FDA scrutiny.

John "Chip" Scarlett

John "Chip" Scarlett

Scarlett will add his perspective to the feature panel with Amylin CEO Dan Bradbury, Arena Pharmaceuticals CEO Jack Lief, and Intarcia Therapeutics executive chairman Kurt Graves. Intarcia is an interesting company because it is betting its future on its ability to deliver Amylin’s bread and butter molecule for diabetes—exenatide—through an implantable device that it thinks will be more effective at controlling blood sugar than the original injection. I’m sure Kurt will be polite on Amylin’s home turf, but he’s no shrinking violet when talking about what he thinks Intarcia can do, so this conversation ought to be very interesting.

There’s also one more feature to this event which I’m excited about. We’re setting aside some space in the networking foyer at Amylin for diabetes and obesity entrepreneurs to do “demos” of their new product strategies. San Diego-based Freedom Meditech will be on hand for this form of show and tell, talking about its non-invasive glucose monitor, while Los Angeles-based DPS Health will describe its work in using IT to help coach and monitor patients on how to lose weight. I have room for at least a couple more “demo” presentations, so if you have a cool new device, diagnostic, or some visual presentation of a new diabetes/obesity treatment strategy, let me know at ltimmerman@xconomy.com. If you haven’t gotten a ticket yet, you can still register here to make sure you can get a good seat. See you there on January 27.

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  • JenJen

    I’m glad we’re going to figure out how to use IT to lose weight. IT has certainly helped me *gain* a lot of weight over the years, it would be nice to get some payback.