Quarterly earnings season is going full throttle, which means short-term thinking is top of mind in the markets. But in biotech, where innovations often take two decades to go from idea to the marketplace, it’s legit to ask now where things are really going in 20 years.
So that’s the theme we’re tackling at the next big Xconomy event titled, “San Francisco Biotech: 2031.” This gathering, with help from the folks at QB3 and BayBio, will be held the evening of March 16th at UCSF Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, Byers Auditorium. We’ll ask the hard questions about whether the Bay Area is in position to remain the No. 1 cluster for life sciences innovation over the coming decades, amid competition from around the world. I plan to moderate a dynamic panel conversation between four all-stars from their respective fields—Jeff Bluestone of UCSF, Randy Scott of Genomic Health, Peter Hirth of Plexxikon, and Corey Goodman of venBio.
Since we first announced this event last week, we’ve added a few more stellar speakers to the program. Reg Kelly, the charismatic Scotsman who’s pushing to commercialize university research at QB3, will offer some opening remarks. And following the panel, we will hear brief 3-4 minute “burst” presentations from a few entrepreneurs working on big ideas that could disrupt industries two decades from now. They are:
—Bill Newell, the CEO of Sutro Biopharma, a company seeking to synthesize protein drugs in the lab, sidestepping costly methods of today in which biotech drugs are incubated in living cells.
—Nancy Stagliano, CEO of CytomX Therapeutics, a new arrival in San Francisco that is seeking to make a new class of antibody drugs with fewer side effects than the blockbusters of today. Stagliano, a neuroscientist by training who got much of her industry experience at Cambridge, MA-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals, is being backed by a new $30 million financing led by Third Rock Ventures and Roche.
—Dave Martin, the CEO of AvidBiotics. Martin, the legendary former head of R&D at Genentech from the early days, is now running a startup that fights bacteria in a novel way that could work on the farm field, and in the body. Martin, along with colleague Jim Knighton, is building this business with angel capital, and federal research support—not venture capital. It’s something more entrepreneurs may have to consider as traditional VC declines.
I’ll be on hand with the microphone, making sure you get to ask questions of these speakers. I’ll also make sure to keep the trains on time so that you have plenty of time for networking over food and drinks. I’m really eager to hear what these folks have to say about the future of life sciences in the Bay Area, and if you’d like to join the conversation, you can register by clicking here. I personally plan to be writing about the ups and downs of the industry for a long time, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. See you there March 16.