On Thursday, April 27th Biotech Connections Los Angeles (BCLA)hosted the second annual Innovation Series Networking Mixer at LA BioSpace. This year, the Innovation Series was centered around ways to acquire funding, commercialize an idea, and how to navigate the technology transfer process from academia to start-up. With 50+ attendees from industry and academia, BCLA and LA BioSpace facilitated a healthy discussion about how entrepreneurs can engage with the booming bioscience ecosystem in the greater Los Angeles area.
The Innovation Series Networking Mixer kicked off with introductions from BCLA and LA BioSpace, where speakers introduced the changes that are taking place across the biotech industry in Los Angeles while highlighting ways that these organizations are facilitating discussion across industry and academia to solidify the biotech influence the local community will have across biotech around the world. Following these introductions, the keynote speaker, Aditya Rajagopal, was welcomed to take the stage. Aditya is an electrical engineer by training with experience across academia and industry. He is the founder and CTO for ChromaCode, the Executive Chairman of Esperto Medical, a venture partner at ND Capital, and part-time faculty at Caltech and USC. Aditya opened up his discussion by talking about the importance of entrepreneurship and encouraging the audience not to be afraid of pursuing any idea they may have on a commercial level. Through his experience at Caltech and working at Google, Aditya was able to capitalize on his experience working on novel medical imaging methods to be a pioneer for HDPCR, which is a technology that will improve patient results by delivering accurate and comprehensive diagnostics, enhance physicians’ access to information by making clinically-actionable data readily available, and reduce healthcare costs by delivering high-quality, low-cost Dx tools. Overall, Aditya’s advice to the audience was to not be afraid of failure, if you can come up with an idea that can demonstrate change in the world, infrastructure is available to help you pursue your goals.
After the keynote address, BCLA welcomed the event sponsors to deliver a tailored message to the audience. Sponsors this year included Capsida, Nuanced Health, and Sunstone Management. BCLA would like to extend its appreciation to all of the sponsors for making this event possible.
Transitioning from the sponsors, Oskar Sundberg, President of BCLA, introduced and moderated the panel discussion with technology transfer specialists from institutions across Los Angeles. Panelists this year included Dina Lozofsky, Senior Director of Business Development from UCLA TDG; Christopher Sue, Licensing Agent Cedar-Sinai Tech Venture; Rose Kiser, Assistant Director of Tech Transfer Caltech; and Benjamin Wild, Tech Licensing Manager at USC Stevens Center. The panel discussion centered on explaining the role of tech transfer offices within academic institutions and describing ways current and prospective entrepreneurs can commercialize their inventions. The tech transfer specialist emphasize that though they are experts on navigating the process to commercialization, it is a team effort for scientist and specialists to explain the importance of an invention— sometimes, a tech transfer representative may not see the vision for an invention based on criteria that are prescribed through their office. Still, it is equally up to the scientist to demonstrate the need and usefulness of their inventions to push forward with their start-up idea.
The day’s event concluded with a networking mixer with light horderves, where audience members and speakers can keep the conversations going surrounding tech transfer. BCLA would like to thank everyone who attended this event and made it a special collaboration with the LA BioSpace team. BCLA looks forward to seeing you at future events.