Live! Anderson & Ferrara Headline Rock Stars of Innovation Summit

3/26/13Follow @bvbigelow

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his breakthrough studies of the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors—work that figured prominently in the development of the cancer drug Avastin. He later advanced that research further through the development of Lucentis, a drug that has helped some patients with macular degeneration regain their sight.

In addition to describing what it’s like to hang out with billionaires like Zuckerberg and Google co-founder Sergei Brin, Ferrara will talk about new areas for hope in cancer research, such as the emerging class of drugs that block the activities of kinase proteins.

Sandwiched between the keynote talks at the beginning and the end is a lot of meaty content.

—Peppi Prasit, the founder and CEO of San Diego’s Inception Sciences, will talk with Versant Ventures’ Jerel Davis about their decision to create an assembly line of drug development programs. Their new business model enables Inception Sciences to get separate VC funding for each drug candidate, and to spin each one out as an independent company.

—Flagship Ventures’ Avak Kahvejian and HLM Venture Partners’ Marty Felsenthal will discuss alternative funding models for venture capital.

—Rick Valencia of Qualcomm Life and Lisa Suennen of the venture firm Psilos Group (and a San Francisco Xconomist) will talk about finding a new business model for startups developing wireless health devices and technologies.

—Ben Cravatt, chairman of the department of chemical physiology at The Scripps Research Institute, and Melissa Fitzgerald, who heads strategic research partnerships at Pfizer, will discuss the “R&D Fusion” taking place through new drug discovery partnerships.

We’ve also arranged for three rock stars of biomedical research to describe the future they see in companion diagnostics and personalized medicine. It’s clear to most people now that genomic sequencing is becoming an increasingly important factor in deciding which treatment option offers the best chance of success for a particular patient with a particular type of cancer. As treatments become increasingly specialized, though, it means that different types of cancer will be divided into more and more subcategories, each one determined by a specific genetic mutation or signaling pathway.

Scott Lippman

“What this is doing is making everything a rare disease,” said Scott Lippman, whose appearance comes less than a year after he was named director of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. As that happens, Lippman told me he foresees that it will become increasingly difficult to carry out clinical studies of new cancer therapies. As treatments become increasingly specialized, he said, “it could take you a year to get one patient enrolled in your study.” In cases where a dominant genetic driver of mutation has not been determined, Lippman said he foresees “escalating complexity” as medical teams try to analyze enormous data sets in a quest to choose the optimal treatment.

Lippman will be joined by Cyrus Mirsaidi, CEO of Molecular Response; Mark Stevenson, president and COO of Life Technologies; and Kim Kamdar, a partner in the San Diego office of Domain Associates.

Interspersed throughout this lollapalooza of innovation will be a series of quick presentations by local “garage band” startups: DermTech, MetraLabs, Tricopian, Tellus Technology, Soccerly, Ten8Tech, Nasseo, and JET Surgical.

If it sounds like a jam-packed summit, all I can say, is, hey man, that’s just the way rock stars roll. More information and online registration is here.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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