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Bio-Entrepreneurship Seminar Series: Part II

As we wrap up this summer season and prepare for the academic year ahead, it's time to look back on the second half of the Bio-Entrepreneurship Series co-hosted with LA Bioscience Hub. Read the coverage on the first three seminars here.

Seminar IV: Licensing the Technology: Biotechnology Commercialization Strategies

The fourth Bio-Entrepreneurship Seminar in collaboration with LA Bioscience Hub featured Bandhana Katoch, JD, MBA, MS, the Director of Sustainability Practice at Larta Institute.

Bandhana started the talk by sharing her unique career path: from science to business to law. During her undergraduate studies, she triple majored in botany, zoology, and chemistry. She then obtained an MSc in Zoology and an MA in Biological Sciences. After she joined the tech transfer office at the University of Missouri, she quickly realized the importance of knowing business and legal languages in her career. She was motivated and driven and eventually obtained her JD and MBA. During the seminar, Bandhana passionately covered the topics on licensing basics, proprietary technology, intellectual property, licensee and licensor information. These are much needed topics for entrepreneurs. Due to her unique career path, she also touched on alternative careers in science, such as technical writing, venture capital, consulting, and government agencies.

The talk was followed by Q&A with the enthusiastic audience. Bandhana ended the talk with a quote “There is no end, there is no beginning, there is only the passion of life.” We would like to pass it on to all of us and let the passion shine through.

Seminar V: Therapeutic Drug Development and Regulatory Approval

The fifth installment of the Bio-Entrepreneurship Seminar in collaboration with LA Bioscience Hub featured Dr. Frances Richmond, Director of the International Center for Regulatory Science at the University of Southern California.

The discussion was focused on the regulatory considerations of how to get drugs from patent to commercialization in the most efficient and cost-effective way. Dr. Richmond highlighted that the success rate for compounds entering the pipeline is very low, from discovery to commercialization.

After a patent is filed, a company needs to collect the data on a drug to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA. This requires preclinical testing, including pharmacology, toxicology and kinetics, as well as formulation testing and claims validation. A key question is how will the preclinical results translate to humans. Once a drug moves into clinical testing, the goal is to monitor toxicity, dosing and efficacy in increasing groups of individuals. Finally, once a drug is approved there are marketing and payer considerations to take into account as well for a drug to be successful.

The key takeaway was that there are many considerations when embarking on a drug discovery program and the earlier each regulatory step is considered, the less likely it will cause delays resulting in lost time and investment. Thank you to Dr. Richmond for a very informative seminar and discussion and to all the webinar attendees for your time and thoughtful questions!

Seminar VI: Intellectual Property Protection Strategies

The sixth and final Bio-Entrepreneurship Seminar in collaboration with LA Bioscience Hub featured Ken Funahashi, Partner in the Los Angeles office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Ken's practice focuses on corporate and securities law and helps both start-ups and multi-billion dollar companies. He has handled more than $10 billion in financings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and IPOs, including hundreds of private and public financing transactions for entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to practicing in California's technology clusters for over two decades, Ken has studied and worked abroad and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions in Asia and Europe. Ken also holds a board member position at BCLA.

The talk gave great insights to students who are planning to bring their own inventions from academic labs to start-ups. The seminar touched on intellectual property (IP), the ownership of IPs, the duration of the ownership, and negotiation on different terms. We had a very interactive Q&A, and it is definitely an informative session for students, entrepreneurs and industry professionals.

This seminar concluded our successful first season of the Bio-Entrepreneurship Seminar Series. In case you want to catch up on any of the seminars, all the recordings are available here. Thank you for tuning in and we look forward to seeing you in our next event!


By Jessie Ma and Leslie Sedgeman

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