XconomyBruce V. Bigelow – Xconomy https://www.xconomy.com Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:31:54 +0000 hourly 1 Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs Offers Farewell at Shareholders Meeting https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/23/qualcomms-paul-jacobs-offers-farewell-at-shareholders-meeting/ Fri, 23 Mar 2018 20:36:43 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363818

Former Qualcomm executive chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs ended his 28-year career with the telecommunications giant Friday with a heartfelt farewell at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

In a short speech to several hundred shareholders at Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) headquarters in San Diego, Jacobs acknowledged the role his father Irwin Jacobs played as Qualcomm’s founding CEO and expressed his gratitude to the employees who created the technologies that led to the wireless Internet, and “changed everything.”

To his father, who was among seven founders “who shared the belief that digital communications would change the world,” Paul Jacobs said, “I hope... Read more »




Freenome Co-founder & Investor Chat Where Big Data Meets Big Bio https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/22/freenome-co-founder-investor-chat-where-big-data-meets-big-bio/ Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:20:13 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363647 Amir Nashat of Polaris Partners (left) and Freenome co-founder Riley Ennis

Through the years, Xconomy has taken many of the stories we’ve published about innovation and entrepreneurship and brought them to life on stage at our events. In the process, we have learned that combining an entrepreneur with a venture investor for a one-on-one chat can provide some fascinating insights into the startup process.

So we’re looking forward with anticipation to the conversation we’ve arranged between Amir Nashat, a managing partner in the Boston office of Polaris Partners, and Riley Ennis, a co-founder and the chief operating officer of Freenome, at our San Diego forum on Big Data Meets Big Biology on... Read more »

Human Longevity Hires Ancestry Executive as CTO https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/20/human-longevity-hires-ancestry-executive-as-cto/ Tue, 20 Mar 2018 17:34:46 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363488 San Diego-based Human Longevity, which is combining genomic and phenotypic data and using machine learning to extract insights about health and wellness, has named Scott Sorensen as chief technology officer. Sorensen, who reports to founder, chairman, and CEO J. Craig Venter, was previously the CTO at Ancestry. In a statement Monday, Human Longevity said Sorensen was integral in developing the strategy that transformed Ancestry from a family history business into a genomics business.

Four Developments to Watch as Embattled Qualcomm Seeks Path Forward https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/16/four-developments-to-watch-as-embattled-qualcomm-seeks-path-forward/ Fri, 16 Mar 2018 22:05:55 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363345 Qualcomm logo on building in San Diego

[Updated 3/16/18 3:30 pm. See below.] There’s never a dull moment these days at Building N, the San Diego headquarters of Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), the wireless technology giant and the world’s biggest maker of the advanced components used in smartphones.

In the days since President Donald Trump preemptively killed Broadcom’s (NASDAQ: AVGO) unsolicited offer to acquire Qualcomm, former chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs has moved to secure the financing needed to take the company private.

[Updated with Qualcomm board announcement.] On Friday, after Qualcomm’s board met to discuss the situation and what to do about... Read more »

Dutch Biotech Raises $19M to Develop Psoriasis Drug Near San Diego https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/14/dutch-biotech-raises-19m-to-develop-psoriasis-drug-near-san-diego/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:42:29 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363129 Solana Beach, CA

Escalier Biosciences BV, a biotech developing drugs for psoriasis and other autoimmune disorders, said it has raised $19 million in a Series B financing led by Forbion, a Dutch life sciences investor. Another Dutch investor, BioGeneration Ventures, and New York-based New Science Ventures joined the round, according to a statement from the company.

While Escalier Biosciences BV is based in the Netherlands, the company is managed by its subsidiary, Escalier Biosciences, based near San Diego in coastal Encinitas, CA, according to Chris Krueger, Escalier’s chief business officer. The Dutch biotech and its Encinitas subsidiary were both founded in 2016, but the... Read more »

Big VCs Join Xconomy in San Diego to Discuss Big Data, Big Biology https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/14/big-vcs-join-xconomy-in-san-diego-to-discuss-big-data-big-biology/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 04:01:10 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363054 Photo by Teresa LoJacono

In the Boston office of GE Ventures, managing director Alex de Winter is overseeing investments in companies like Veracyte, which is applying machine learning to genomic sequencing technology to help doctors distinguish benign growths from cancer.

At Intel Capital in the Bay Area, investment director Ranjeet Alexis is an expert in bioinformatics who is scouting for deals at the intersection of computation, healthcare, and the life sciences. His investments include Synthego, a provider of technology used in CRISPR genome editing and research.

Then there is Amir Nashat, a Boston-based partner at Polaris Partners, whose firm’s life sciences portfolio includes... Read more »

Crinetics Closes $63.5M Financing to Back Rare Hormone Disease Drug https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/13/crinetics-closes-63-5m-financing-to-back-rare-hormone-disease-drug/ Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:31:34 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=363075 Crinetics Phamaceuticals team 2017 (photo used with permission)

Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego biotech focused on developing new drugs for endocrine disorders and endocrine-related cancers, said today it has raised $63.5 million in a Series B financing led by Perceptive Advisors, the New York biotech fund.

Two new investors, RA Capital and OrbiMed, joined the round, along with existing investors 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, and Vivo Capital. With the latest funding, CEO Scott Struthers, who founded Crinetics in 2008, said the company has raised over $100 million, including private investments and non-dilutive funding such as Small Business Innovation Research Grants.

In a statement Tuesday, Crinetics said it plans... Read more »

President Trump Prohibits Broadcom from Acquiring Qualcomm https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/12/president-trump-prohibits-broadcom-from-acquiring-qualcomm/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 01:29:44 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=362967

In a surprising statement late today from the White House, President Donald Trump unilaterally prohibited Broadcom’s proposed takeover of Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), the world’s biggest maker of chips for smartphones.

Citing a recommendation from a national security panel and other factors set forth under federal law, the statement also proclaims that all candidates that Broadcom (NASDAQ: AVGO) nominated for Qualcomm’s board “are hereby disqualified from standing for election.”

The two companies had yet to even agree on a price in what was widely reported to represent the biggest tech deal in history. Singapore-based Broadcom had submitted bids ranging from... Read more »

Proper Media Acquires Spoutable, Last Piece of Venture Studio https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/12/proper-media-acquires-spoutable-last-piece-of-venture-studio/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:40:06 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=362814 Cursive Labs founders

After learning that Proper Media, a San Diego specialist in programmatic digital advertising had acquired Spoutable, it took a couple weeks to catch up with Spoutable CEO Jon Belmonte and ask: What happened to Cursive Labs?

Spoutable began more than three years ago as part of Cursive Labs, a kind of holding company for startups that was founded with $2.2 million on a “venture studio” model that allows experienced entrepreneurs to run with their own ideas. As Belmonte explained in 2015, “In a venture studio, you’re building your own companies. You have 100 percent equity ownership, you’re in control,... Read more »

San Diego Faces Its Future as a Tech Hub Without Qualcomm as Anchor https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/05/san-diego-faces-its-future-as-a-tech-hub-without-qualcomm-as-anchor/ Mon, 05 Mar 2018 15:10:08 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=362375 Qualcomm headquarters in San Diego (Qualcomm photo used with permission)

As Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) prepares for its annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, March 6, its takeover battle with Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM), has much of San Diego pondering a question reminiscent of a Joni Mitchell song:

“Oh, don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

If Qualcomm accepts Broadcom’s proposal, estimated at somewhere around $120 billion, San Diego community leaders say the effects would be far-reaching—even if Broadcom elects to keep some part of Qualcomm’s operations local. For one thing, a successful Qualcomm buyout would be the technology industry’s biggest-ever takeover, creating... Read more »

With $75M Alumnus Gift, UCSD Opens Data Science Institute https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/02/with-75m-alumnus-gift-ucsd-opens-data-science-institute/ Sat, 03 Mar 2018 01:12:02 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=362337 From left: Taner Halicioglu, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, San Diego City Council President Barbara Bry

Amid intensifying global demand for workers who can extract insights from zettabytes of data, the University of California, San Diego held a dedication ceremony Friday for its new Halicioğlu Data Science Institute.

The center, made possible by a $75 million gift from UC San Diego alumnus and early Facebook employee Taner Halicioğlu, is intended to encourage the development and use of new data science technologies in just about every field on campus—and beyond. According to UC San Diego, the donation—announced last year—was the largest ever received from one of its alumni.

At the center’s unveiling Friday, UC San... Read more »

Sēqster Exits Stealth with Web-Based Tech for Managing Health Data https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/03/01/seqster-exits-stealth-with-web-based-tech-for-managing-health-data/ Thu, 01 Mar 2018 19:52:15 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=362199 Sēqster team, from left Xiang Li, Ardy Arianpour, Dana Hosseini, Matt Patterson

Sēqster, founded in 2016 to develop technology that enables individuals to aggregate and manage all of their own personal health information, emerged from stealth mode Wednesday.

Comparing itself to the personal finance platform Mint.com, the San Diego startup says its platform integrates personal health information from a variety of sources, including electronic medical records (EMR), wearable devices, and genomics data. The data are integrated in a comprehensive display for each user (see below). The company said it already connects to more than 1,000 healthcare providers, comprising over 2,000 hospitals and clinics nationwide.

In a statement, Sēqster (pronounced seek-ster) said it... Read more »

Smart Cities Initiative Spurs “Gigabit Apps” for Next-Gen Internet https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/02/23/smart-cities-initiative-spurs-gigabit-apps-for-next-gen-internet/ Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:48:55 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=361761 Depositphotos image by © sprokop

In late 2015, the National Science Foundation awarded a $6 million grant to the non-profit organization U.S. Ignite to help drive the development of next-generation “gigabit applications,” as part of a broader effort to create “smart gigabit communities” throughout the U.S.

The idea was to both help cities improve local services and spur the development of something that didn’t really exist at the time—a nationwide infrastructure of ultra high-speed networks providing Internet service at speeds of 1 gigabit/second. Since then, U.S. Ignite has selected 25 cities to participate in the three-year program, including Madison, WI; Flint, MI; Austin, TX; San Francisco;... Read more »

With Qualcomm Buyout Looming, EvoNexus Aims for Self-Sufficiency https://www.xconomy.com/national/2018/02/14/with-qualcomm-buyout-looming-evonexus-aims-for-self-sufficiency/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 05:40:33 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=361137 EvoNexus CEO Rory Moore 2017

In the nine years since San Diego’s EvoNexus incubator began amid the great recession of 2009, CEO Rory Moore has emphasized it is a pro bono program—startup teams admitted to the technology accelerator get free office space and other perks, with no strings attached.

EvoNexus operates as a non-profit, which is possible because dozens of local tech companies, law firms, and others provide funding to sustain the incubator’s pro bono operations. Three strategic partners in particular provide substantial (undisclosed) support—Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT), and the private real estate developer the Irvine Company.

Now, for a variety of... Read more »

A16Z Bio Fund’s Pande Sees A.I. as Way to Ride Bio Innovation https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/02/06/a16z-bio-funds-pande-sees-a-i-as-way-to-ride-bio-innovation/ Tue, 06 Feb 2018 16:08:36 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=360573

As Andreessen Horowitz begins to invest the $450 million the bellwether venture firm recently raised for its second bio fund, general partner Vijay Pande has been talking increasingly about the use of artificial intelligence in the life sciences.

In a presentation a few months ago at the firm’s annual a16z Summit, Pande argued that many aspects of biology (biochemical pathways, for example) have become so big, complicated, and messy that understanding the system is beyond what a human being can comprehend.

But that’s been changing with the help of machines. As Pande explained, what’s different now is that advances... Read more »

Arcturus Terminates CEO, Names Mark Herber as Interim President https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/02/02/arcturus-terminates-ceo-names-mark-herber-as-interim-president/ Fri, 02 Feb 2018 23:13:15 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=360462 Arcturus photo used with permission

Arcturus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ARCT) said today it has fired co-founder and CEO Joseph E. Payne (on the right in above photo), and named Mark Herber, vice president of business development and alliance management, as interim president.

The San Diego-based early stage biotech, which specializes in RNA medicines, did not explain in a statement today why the Arcturus board decided to terminate Payne—only that his dismissal “is not related to Arcturus’ operational performance, ongoing programs, financial condition, or financial reporting.”

The unexpected announcement nevertheless sent the price of Arcturus shares spiraling in after-hours trading, falling by $1.38, nearly 19 percent, to... Read more »

As Worlds Collide: Join Xconomy for Big Data Meets Big Biology https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/02/01/as-worlds-collide-join-xconomy-for-big-data-meets-big-biology/ Thu, 01 Feb 2018 17:07:12 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=360237

What happens when the power of advanced computing and large-scale data technologies are applied in healthcare and the life sciences?

Imagine what might happen if two tsunamis came together near the coast.

On April 26, Xconomy will explore how the inexorable trends in IT and life sciences are driving transformational change, and how innovations in this convergence are creating companies that are poised to take over large swathes of the economy. We’re convening in San Diego at the Illumina Theater at The Alexandria, and we’re calling it the Xconomy Forum on Big Data Meets Big Biology.

We’re gathering key leaders from... Read more »

With Pellini on Board, Maris Sets Course at Section 32 https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/02/01/with-pellini-on-board-maris-sets-course-with-new-fund-at-section-32/ Thu, 01 Feb 2018 15:32:21 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=360205

It’s not easy to catch up with Bill Maris at Section 32, the venture firm he founded last year near San Diego. It took a while to arrange a call to discuss how Foundation Medicine’s Michael Pellini had joined Section 32 as Maris’s first investing partner, and what they plan to do together.

Maris acknowledged last year that he was laying plans to raise a new fund, after investing nearly all of the first $160 million he had raised for Section 32. Since then, Maris said he’s been busy assembling a new team in the coastal community of Cardiff by the... Read more »

Genomatica, Pioneer in Bio-Chemicals, Working Now on Sustainable Biz https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/01/26/genomatica-pioneer-in-bio-chemicals-working-now-on-sustainable-biz/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 16:09:04 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=359919 Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling (Genomatica image used with permission)

Genomatica, a San Diego industrial biotech, has spent the past 12 years or more working to take the petroleum part out of the petrochemical industry.

In 2008, for example, Genomatica showed it had bio-engineered E. coli bacteria to digest sugar, oxygen, and other nutrients in a fermentation tank—and produce 1,4-butanediol (BDO), an intermediate chemical used to make skateboard wheels, dashboards, and other resilient plastic materials.

But advancing the processes needed to make bio-based chemicals from renewable feedstocks is one thing—and building a sustainable business on such technology is something else altogether. “Since 2013, it’s been kind of a roller coaster,” Genomatica... Read more »

Luna DNA Uses Blockchain to Share Genomic Data as a “Public Benefit” https://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2018/01/22/luna-dna-uses-blockchain-to-share-genomic-data-as-a-public-benefit/ Mon, 22 Jan 2018 18:59:29 +0000 Bruce V. Bigelow https://www.xconomy.com/?p=359596 Luna DNA founding team (Image used with permission)

A San Diego startup says it has adapted the blockchain technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin for use as a distributed database for genomic information.

Luna DNA’s efforts mark one of the early attempts to apply blockchain technology in healthcare, as advocates of the much-hyped technology try to make use of it in sectors other than cryptocurrencies.

Co-founder and CEO Bob Kain told Xconomy in a recent interview that Luna DNA uses blockchain technology so that individuals who get their genome sequenced can take ownership of their personal genomic data as a “digital asset.” Kain said part of the appeal... Read more »